At a Westminster Education Forum event this week on Applied Generals, OCR Chief Executive, Jill Duffy, spelt out why Applied Generals, such as Cambridge Technicals, are needed alongside A Levels and T Levels. Other speakers included representatives from the DfE, ASCL and AoC.
The event came just days before the deadline for responding to the DfE's consultation on principles for reviewing post-16 qualifications at Level 3 and below.
"From our research, and from listening to what schools, colleges, universities and employers are telling us", Jill told the audience, "there are three reasons why these qualifications have an important place besides A Levels and T Levels in any post-16 qualifications landscape.
"First of all, choice. The majority of us did not know, at the age of 16, what our future career would be. Having to make a binary choice between one of only two pathways - A Levels or T Levels - would be a difficult choice for some 16-year-olds. We must keep students' options open."
She continued: "Secondly, social mobility is a key concern that has emerged in all my recent conversations with FE and Sixth Form Colleges about Applied Generals. As an exam board that is part of a university, we were keen to do research into the progression routes of students applying to university with Cambridge Technicals. Of the Cambridge Technical students tracked, 95% received at least one offer and 87% accepted a place. And many universities are telling us that Applied Generals work for them."
"And lastly, blended provision where students can combine vocational and academic study is vital. At Queen Mary College, part of the Wessex Group which I visited recently, nearly a quarter of students go on to university having studied a mixed programme of A Levels and Applied Generals."
Jill ended: "Let's remind ourselves who this is really all about - it's about the students. We are educating real people with real aspirations. So we will continue to talk to schools and colleges, and to the DfE and Ofqual, in our mission to safeguard the role of Applied Generals now, and in the future."
To help schools and colleges teaching Cambridge Technicals stay up to date on the DfE's announcements, including the withdrawal of funding for our 2012 Cambridge Technical Level 3 qualifications from August 2020, we're offering three special events for teachers in June and early July.