Introducing a Technical Baccalaureate Measure
The government has announced the introduction of a new 16-19 performance table measure for schools and colleges in England.
It will be called the Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc) measure. The TechBacc will comprise a Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) level 3 (EQF level 4) Tech Level occupational qualification as well as level 3 mathematics and an extended project.
Tech Levels are existing occupational qualifications registered within the QCF that have been endorsed by a relevant trade or professional body or a minimum of five employers in a specific occupational area.
The performance of schools and colleges in England is assessed each year and published in performance tables that are widely available to education stakeholders, students and parents. When the first students complete the Tech Levels in 2016, there will be separate performance tables for Tech Levels, Applied General Qualifications and Academic Qualifications. Vocational qualifications that don’t have the required employer and higher education recognition will not be categorised as Tech Levels or Applied General Qualifications and will consequently not count towards the education providers’ performance in the ranking.
This measure aims to incentivise the use of qualifications that are recognised in the labour market and for progression to higher education. Moreover, this is envisaged to simplify and clarify the education system by reducing the number of qualifications offered and making the purpose and progression potential of each qualification clear.
This reform, along with the quality stamps from employers, trade bodies, professional organisations and higher education providers has been designed to increase the number of students applying for upper secondary VET.
The aim of the reform is to improve the best, most relevant qualifications in England rather than creating new qualifications. The TechBacc and Tech Levels are therefore not new qualifications, but have been developed as a badge of quality to raise the standard of qualifications and the status of VET in addition to clarifying progression opportunities. The government, rather than developing top-down legislation, is driving the reform through funding and accountability and encouraging increased employer engagement in a bid to improve qualifications’ relevance in the labour market.
The government has also reformed the way schools and colleges are funded at 16-19 level. Institutions were previously funded based on the number of qualifications students passed. In order to provide an incentive for schools and colleges to offer relevant and substantial qualifications, funding is now given per student and based on qualifications that will allow progression to further and higher education and entry to the labour market, with specific emphasis on offering courses suited to local needs.
The TechBacc is being implemented following the recommendations made in the Review of Vocational Education - The Wolf Report published in March 2011. Lists of Tech Levels and Applied General Qualifications recognised by employers and higher education institutions were first published in December 2013. These lists will be updated as more programmes meet the recognition requirements. The first Tech Level and Applied General Qualifications will be taught to 16-19 year olds from September 2014. The TechBacc performance measure will also be introduced in September 2014 and will start to count towards national performance tables in 2016.