Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Fourth Report

Conclusions and recommendations


1.  We encourage the Government to continue to publish legislation in draft in order to allow early Parliamentary scrutiny as well as greater public engagement with the law-making process. In the case of the forthcoming bill on education and skills, we encourage the Government to publish for pre-legislative scrutiny clauses relating to the promotion of excellence in schools and the achievement of the objective that every school becomes a good school. (Paragraph 2)

The Government's ambitions for apprenticeships

2.  We urge the Government to investigate further the reasons for entrenched inequalities in the apprenticeship system and to take specific, targeted action on the basis of a sophisticated system of monitoring participation. (Paragraph 11)

The Draft Bill and its purpose

3.  We record at the outset the general enthusiasm in evidence for apprenticeships in principle and for the Draft Bill in seeking to raise the status and standards of apprenticeships. (Paragraph 14)

4.  We question whether it is a good use of Parliamentary time to consider "symbolic" legislation. (Paragraph 19)


5.  We believe that there cannot be an automatic right to progress from one form of learning at one level of qualification to another form at a higher qualification, although we would expect the Government and providers to make this as easy as possible. (Paragraph 29)

6.  Unless the Government can justify denying a young person an entitlement to an apprenticeship at the same level as that of a qualification which they already hold, the Government should redraft clause 21 of the Draft Bill to remove any potential block to access. (Paragraph 30)

Young Apprenticeships

7.  We acknowledge that to introduce an entitlement to a Young Apprenticeship for any 14 to 16-year-old who wanted one would not be legislatively simple: it could require a definition in statute of the characteristics of a Young Apprenticeship and of the standards which each placement should meet. We suspect that to introduce such an entitlement would be difficult. Nevertheless we agree that the Young Apprenticeship scheme is a valuable one and should be encouraged and well resourced, independently of Diplomas. (Paragraph 34)

Careers advice

8.  Despite the greater stringency of the requirements placed upon schools by the Education and Skills Bill shortly to complete its passage through Parliament, we nonetheless believe that any approach which leaves discretion to schools-based careers advisers as to what would be in a particular young person's best interests is an unnecessarily risky one. In the short term, the effects of the obligations on schools imposed by legislation now before Parliament should be assessed; but we fear that the issue may need to be revisited if experience shows that they do not have the necessary traction. We believe that legislation should be made stronger, by requiring schools to include clear and comprehensive information about apprenticeships in the materials made available to learners. (Paragraph 39)

The duty to secure apprenticeship places

9.  We urge the Government to assess the scope for amending the Draft Bill to provide comfort to employers presently reluctant to take on young people as Young Apprentices or as Apprentices because of health and safety considerations. (Paragraph 46)

10.  We have grave doubts about whether a statutory duty on the Learning and Skills Council (and in due course the National Apprenticeship Service) to secure sufficient apprenticeship placements can be met, or met without compromising on quality. (Paragraph 47)

11.  We strongly welcome the Government's intention, articulated in the World-class Apprenticeships strategy review paper and reiterated by Ministers in evidence, to take steps to ensure that the public sector offers more apprenticeship placements; and we recommend that this should be monitored and reported on (Paragraph 48)

12.  We believe that there is significant potential for public sector organisations to use existing posts to provide apprenticeship placements, provided that they meet the necessary framework standards. (Paragraph 48)

Group apprenticeship schemes

13.  We strongly support the concept of group apprenticeship schemes, and we believe that they could become one of the principal means of encouraging small employers to offer apprenticeships. We recommend that the Government should assess the potential of group apprenticeship schemes and should develop models for funding and operating them. If they prove to be viable on a larger scale, the Government, through the proposed National Apprenticeship Service, should promote them vigorously. (Paragraph 51)


14.  We invite the Government to proceed cautiously in the transfer of responsibility for funding education and training for 16 to 18-year-olds from the Learning and Skills Council to local authorities. (Paragraph 54)

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