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Plans to reform post-16 qualifications must help tackle social exclusion and offer genuine choice and opportunities for young people from all backgrounds, representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union have warned today.

The Union opposed plans to withdraw funding for BTEC qualifications, warning it would narrow the opportunities for young people and particularly limit the horizons of those from the most deprived and marginalised backgrounds.

Whilst welcoming a belated U-turn from the Government which will see the majority of BTEC qualifications retain funding, questions still remain about the long-term future of vocational options post-16, amid the introduction of T-levels.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“At a time when young people need more support than ever to realise and rebuild their futures, it is welcome that the Government has finally accepted that withdrawing funding for all BTECs would be a retrograde step which would have restricted the opportunities and diminished the prospects of all students, particularly the most disadvantaged.

“BTEC qualifications have an important role to play alongside A-levels and T-levels in offering a broad, but coherent menu of opportunities for young people post-16.

“We await further details of how the Government plans to roll out its reforms to post-16 education and how BTECs will fit into the new structure amid the roll-out of T-levels.

“We believe the success of the qualifications system should be measured by its contribution towards tackling deep-rooted patterns of occupational segregation and social exclusion.

“As we look to rebuild and recover from the impact of the pandemic, the emphasis must be on opening more pathways for young people to succeed and flourish.”

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