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This report takes a detailed look at the poor take-up of higher technical education (HTE) in England – often referred to as the ‘missing middle’ or ‘forgotten half’ of the English education landscape, and the challenges this presents to the Government’s ambitions for improving productivity and levelling up economic performance within and between regions.
It closely examines HTQs and IoTs, as they have significant potential to boost the take-up of higher technical education, supported by a number of other policy initiatives including the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Local Skills Improvement Plans. The report’s recommendations aim to ensure that all policy initiatives in relation to higher technical education are appropriately developed and supported, in order to make a genuine difference in this field.
The Government should:
Undertake targeted pilots for promotion and information sharing around new IoTs and HTQs
Commit to further funding rounds for IoTs that are able to demonstrate a positive effect on supporting local economic specialisms and clusters
Deliver a flexible Lifelong Loan Entitlement able to support the delivery of higher technical education
Allow access to maintenance support funding for all HTE students
Encourage networked recognition of credits for higher level 4 and 5 and modular courses across further and higher education institutions
Improve careers education, information, advice and guidance at all ages for higher technical options post-16
Build and improve on the Lifetime Skills Guarantee
Reform the apprenticeship levy and provide a system of support for employer investment in level 4 and 5 HTE
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