Bury North MP James Frith was left “staggered” today after Education Minister Anne Milton admitted that she wouldn’t allow her children to take T-Levels in the first year of the new qualification.
T-Levels, the Government’s attempt to create a technical qualification equivalent to an A Level, have been roundly criticised by MPs, education professionals and industry bodies.
The first wave of the new qualifications are supposed to be available to 16 year olds in 50 colleges from September 2020, but the Department for Education’s chief civil servant has already publicly warned Government ministers that delivering T-Levels by then will be a challenge.
In front of Parliament’s influential Education Select Committee today, the Skills Minister faced tough questions from MPs. In response to concerns about parents encouraging their children to apply to do T-Levels when the specifications won’t even be ready until six months before they’re due to be taught, the minister said: “I’m a parent of four children, if somebody said to me your children can do this new qualification I would say ‘leave it a year’.”
James, who serves on the committee, responding by saying that he found her comments “staggering”:
“I find your comments there quite remarkable that you envisage a moment where you yourself consider what is best for your children and you would say ‘leave it there’ in regard to the qualifications that you are responsible for delivering and launching.
“Why shouldn’t every other parent of the children considering what they should do next also say ‘leave it here’ when the minister responsible for launching them [T-levels] doesn’t think they would be right for your children?”
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