The new technical qualification has worrying design flawsby David Laws / June 1, 2018 / Leave a comment
The recent “exchange of letters” between the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and his top departmental civil servant, Jonathan Slater, over the roll-out of the new T-levels was courteous and diplomatic. However, the polite words cannot disguise the significant disagreement and huge risks to the development of the government’s new sixth form technical qualification.
It will be “very challenging” to ensure that T-levels are taught to a “consistently high standard,” wrote Slater.
It really is extraordinarily unusual for permanent secretaries (not least at the education department) to express their concerns about policy delivery in this way. Civil servants and ministers usually move heaven and earth to avoid public bust-ups, which can seriously undermine relations and cast doubt over the delivery of key policies. Slater must have had very serious concerns indeed to write this “accounting officer” letter. As interesting, Hinds has chosen to ignore the very clear advice.
Is this just a department for education spat, or does it matter? Potentially, it matters a lot. This new option for post-16 vocational study, soon to be rolled out for 25 courses,is looking problematic to say the least.