UA reacts to the Secretary of State for Education’s speech on FE reform


The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, today (9 July 2020) made a speech on further education reform, which included the decision to abolish the 50% target of young people going to university.

Reacting to the speech, Chief Executive of University Alliance Vanessa Wilson commented: 

“We’re pleased to see the government put further and technical education at the heart of our post-16 education system. Further education has been scandalously underfunded for far too long, and it needs to be an integral part of the education landscape, now more than ever.

“However, we were disappointed that the Secretary of State abolished the 50% target of young people going to university, on the very day UCAS show a record number applying. Higher education is an increasingly attractive option for young people, and it does not need to be denigrated in order to lift up further education. Everyone in the country will benefit when all parts of the education system are highly regarded and well-funded.

“It’s also wrong to suggest that higher education rarely offers technical qualifications and training. Alliance universities offer a range of first class technical degrees from Level 4 upwards, both themselves and in partnership with local colleges.

“Rather than emphasise a false divide between the two, the Government should build a world-class ecosystem for further and higher education, to meet the needs of society and the global knowledge and technical economies.”

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