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    Of great interest to the early years sector, in what is being termed a shock departure, Mr Robert Halfon MP announced on Twitter that he would not be returning to the brief of Apprenticeship Minister. He stated; - "The prime minister has to make these decisions," Mr Halfon said. "I wasn't really given a reason."

    Might the reason for Mr Halfon's sacking have anything to do with the fact that he, as the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, presided for an extended period of time, over the wrongful imposition of the GCSE only, criteria upon the early years sector, despite massive amounts of evidence being submitted to him and his colleagues, identifying to him the detriment the imposition was causing to the sector and aligned sectors?

    Combined with this is the fact that despite calls levied with him and his colleagues for an investigation into the Government explaining to representative employers from the early years sector that the rationale for the 3 years GCSE imposition upon the early years sector by Government was, to 'get rid of the dross in the sector' and furthermore explaining that the 'dross' referred to was in fact 'working class girls coming out of schools without any qualifications'. Along with other discriminatory concerns and complaints levied with him, he took no action to investigate this nor to redress these serious matters by righting the wrongs, instead issuing instruction to civil servants to shut down, in breach of due process and in a wilful act of petty reprisal, those speaking truth to power.

    Robert Halfon MP was also lauded for years as the Conservative’s ‘Champion of Working Class Workers’, while the above was going on under his purview, might this to be an influencing factor in his being stood down by the PM from being the Minister of Apprenticeship and Skills? A tad bit embarrassing for the Government, and the Conservative Party to say the very least, especially now given their poor showings in the recent General Election.

    Under his tenure too, the flagship, all singing, all dancing apprenticeship levy on employers and its rapid expansion was heavily criticised by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as being “poor value for money” and would encourage larger numbers of vocational trainees but lower quality in terms of experience and outputs and indeed there is the Register of Approved Training Providers which was supposed to be about quality but transpired to be experienced, by wide sections of the FE sector as a bodged up job.

    Could the reason also be, that once more of late, the reissuing of the formally lodged requests for investigation and redress, into early years sector representative’s already lodged and previously ignored serious concerns and complaints to senior levels in Government, and now widely disseminated across the British Press, have anything to do with Robert Halfon’s ‘shocking departure’?

    I’m just pondering and asking.

    Chrissy Meleady MBE

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