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The Croydon College Group is lending its backing to a campaign calling on the Department for Education to ensure funding remains in place for qualifications such as BTECs.

The #ProtectStudentChoice campaign is calling on government to keep funding in place for applied general qualifications (AGQs) – of which BTECs are one – while also continuing to introduce the new T Levels.

Currently the proposals seek to introduce a binary system of T Levels and A Levels at level 3 of post-16 education, and remove funding for AGQs.

The College Group is supporting the statement, made by organisations including the Sixth Form Colleges Association, NASUWT, the National Education Union, the National Union of Students, ssat, Unison and the University Alliance.

The statement outlines that the organisations support the government’s ambition to create a world class post-16 education system, comprising both technical and academic routes, that helps all students to fulfil their potential and meets the needs of employers and welcomes the introduction of T Levels.

However, there are concerns the move will mean many of the newly-reformed, high quality, AGQs are lost – which are for many a more appropriate route to support progression to higher levels of study or a meaningful job, than an A level or T level-only study programme.

Defunding AGQs will leave many students without a viable pathway at the age of 16 and will hamper progress to higher education or skilled employment. The Department for Education’s own impact assessment concludes students from disadvantaged backgrounds have the most to lose if AGQs are defunded.

The statement also says the current timeline is not feasible, particularly given the unfolding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and that funding should not be removed for any AGQ unless an impartial, evidence-based assessment has concluded it is not valued by students or employers.

Caireen Mitchell, Principal and CEO of the Croydon College Group, said: “I am very worried about the planned removal of AGQs such as BTECs, which would be very detrimental to our students.

“These qualifications work well for our students providing vital routes into employment, Higher Education and Apprenticeships.

“The Croydon College Group supports this important campaign to #ProtectStudentChoice and calls on the Department for Education to please protect student choice, educational attainment and social mobility by continuing to allow students to study AGQs.”

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