Agnew to fire off another round of Baker clause warning letters

Another round of letters warning schools of their legal duty to promote apprenticeships will be fired off to headteachers across the country tomorrow.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson told sister newspaper FE Week the letters will be issued by academies minister Lord Agnew, who also has the FE market in his brief (full letter below).

Williamson said the government “wants to make sure every young person is aware of just how rewarding doing an apprenticeship can be – no matter what their skills, interests and aspirations”.

Education select committee chair Robert Halfon said earlier this week that “time and time again we know schools, for one reason or another, are not doing enough to promote apprenticeships”.

“If we’re going to change the views of parents, and if we’re going to have more young people thinking an apprenticeship is the right thing to do, we need to have people going into schools,” he added.

Under the so-called Baker clause, all local authority-maintained schools and academies have since January 2018 been legally obliged to give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in years 8 to 13 about technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

Despite numerous warning letters, the Department for Education has so far shied away from actually intervening after non-compliance.

A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research found that two-thirds of schools were flouting the clause.

The government’s lack of action has led the Baker-Dearing Trust to label their own founder’s clause a “law without teeth”.

But, they added getting the government’s weight behind the law was the “best we can hope for”.