MP says government BTEC call creates worry and confusion


Mr Aldous speaking to the House of Commons. - Credit: Archant

Conservative MP for Waveney Peter Aldous has said the government's policy on BTECs has led to "worry, confusion and uncertainty".

His concerns come after the Department for Education said vocational exams would go ahead this month across England, but that it was down to the schools and colleges to judge whether they would go ahead there.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that GCSE and A-level exams this summer have been cancelled.

Mr Aldous addressed the confusion in the House of Commons and said: "The economic recovery will be skills-based and the government have quite rightly placed much emphasis on the importance of BTECs.

"However, there is currently worry, confusion and uncertainty in colleges and schools.

"Many have cancelled this month's exams but others have not.

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"They should not have been placed in a position of having to make their own choice as to whether to go ahead with exams - the government should have shown clear leadership so that all students across the country were in the same situation.

"Will the secretary of state now work with Ofqual, the exams boards and the Association of Colleges to put in place as quickly as possible new arrangements that will provide students and teachers with certainty, clarity and confidence?"


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, speaking in the House of Commons. - Credit: PA

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Education secretary Gavin Williamson replied to Mr Aldous by saying that for many schools and colleges it was right for their students to sit BTEC exams this January.

He said: "There are many students and there are many colleges that know for their students' future prospects that they need to complete those assessments during this month if they are going to be able to access work and employment opportunities.

"So, no, I'm not going to go down the route that (Mr Aldous) suggests of actually taking their opportunity to potentially be able to access work and those opportunities away from them because I do not believe that would be right for those children."

The Department for Education says it recognises it is a difficult time for students but added that allowing schools and colleges to decide allows students who had prepared for BTEC exams and coursework to continue to move forward.

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