Rishi Sunak at the Conservative Party conference

Further education group welcomes Sunak education reforms

The Association of Colleges London has welcomed Rishi Sunak’s education reforms, including a new Advanced British Standard qualification alongside £30,000 bonuses for new teachers of key subjects.

The announcement, which came in Sunak’s speech at the Conservative conference in Manchester, outlined plans for a new qualification to replace A-Levels and T-Levels.

This would increase the number of subjects students take to five and adding at least 195 hours more teaching time.

He also announced a £30,000 tax-free bonus over five years for new teachers of key shortage subjects in schools and further education colleges.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges which presides over AoC London, welcomed the announcement and the proposed funding increase.

He said: “I’ve rarely heard previous prime ministers talk about further education colleges, let alone announce more funding to attract and retain college lecturers.

“The announcement on the Advanced British Standard could have a significant impact on colleges, and I am particularly pleased that our push for young people to have more teaching time has been heeded.

“If the funding is really there for colleges to help to realise this vision, and make technical education as prestigious as academic, then this is a significant and very welcome announcement.”

The announcement comes three months after education secretary Gillian Keegan announced just under £500 million in funding for colleges to help support pay rises.

As highlighted in Sunak’s speech, Keegan is the first education secretary who is the product of an apprenticeship, and this new emphasis on technical education comes alongside a crackdown on what the government has referred to as rip-off degrees.

Sunak said: “This will finally deliver on the promise of parity of esteem between academic and technical education.”

Featured image credit: Stuart Graham / The Conservative Party via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 licence

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