Schools preventing pupils from finding out about beauty qualifications

A leading think tank believes schools are preventing pupils from finding out about alternatives to A Levels, such as vocational beauty therapy courses, to avoid losing sixth form funding.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), less than two fifths of secondary schools have been complying with the legal requirement to allow colleges to advertise vocational qualifications to pupils from the age of 12, describing the situation as “very poor”.

Other schools have been accused of only giving access to underperforming pupils who are not “deemed fit” for sixth form, the think tank said, with several colleges complaining of “selective compliance”. 

The Government has been working to improve the quality of technical education to have it recognised as equally valid and important as traditional academic routes, having introduced the Technical and Further Education Act 2017. 

The act had a new law incorporated in January 2018, known as the Baker clause, which stipulates that schools much ensure that a “range of education and training providers” have access to pupils from year 8 to year 13, so they can be informed about the technical and apprenticeship opportunities available to them.  

All schools are now required to explain in writing how colleges can inform pupils of their options to improve compliance with the Baker clause. 

IPPR said: “If we are to deliver on the promise of the Baker clause, the Government should make Ofsted responsible for checking compliance, as part of a greater focus on careers guidance. 

“Beyond enforcement of the Baker clause, more could be done to deliver on its aims, including providing a single online resource for information on pathways, engaging parents in careers advice, and giving local authorities a duty to support partnership working across schools and education providers.”

Read IPPR’s The Baker Clause One Year On report