Schools will be forced to promote technical education from January

A law that will force schools to let colleges, apprenticeship providers and University Technical Colleges talk to pupils about their study options will come into force in January, according to guidance published this morning by the Department for Education.

The rule also requires schools to have a plan for how they will arrange the visits, which must occur at “important transition points” in the school year.

The so-called “Baker clause”, an amendment to the technical and further education act written by the former education secretary Kenneth Baker and enshrined into law in May, will come into effect on January 2.

Even Lord Baker, who served under Thatcher, has said he expects the move to be “met with great hostility in every school in the country”

All schools must publish a policy statement outlining how providers can access the school

According to the guidance, all local-authority-maintained schools and academies “must give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in years 8 to 13 about approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships”.

Schools must also have “clear arrangements in place” to ensure that all pupils have opportunities to hear from providers of post-14, post-16 and post-18 options “at, and leading up to, important transition points”.

All schools must also publish a policy statement outlining how providers can access the school, the rules for granting and refusing access and what providers can expect once granted access.

Lord Baker, the architect of the controversial UTC programme, proposed his amendment while the technical and further education bill was passing through the House of Lords in February.

He accused schools of “resisting” those who tried to promote more vocational courses to their pupils, and insisted that “every word” of his proposed clause was needed because it would be “met with great hostility in every school in the country”.

The amendment was not challenged by the former academies minister Lord Nash, who at the time was the government’s education spokesperson in the Lords.