Toby Perkins MP
Toby Perkins MP

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has called on the government to reverse its plan to scrap the majority of BTEC qualification during a debate in Parliament.

During a Westminster Hall Debate, Toby responded for the official Opposition, in his role as Shadow Further Education and Skills Minister.

The debate was triggered after a petition started by the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign secured 108,329 signatures earlier this year.

The petition was started in response to the government’s plan to move to a two-route model of A levels and T levels (a new suite of technical qualifications), where most young people pursue one of these qualifications at the age of 16. As part of this plan, funding for the majority of BTEC qualifications will start to be removed from 2024.

Toby has been working alongside the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign – a coalition of school, college, university and employer bodies – which aims to reverse the government’s decision on BTEC funding.

During Monday’s debate, Toby welcomed the partial U-turn as “they will have scrapped less than 10% of all the level 3 qualifications currently on offer but, within that, they will have scrapped several courses that both employers and educationalists have real concern about”.

Toby asked the Minister “What is the (government’s) plan for those students who previously would have been able to study a BTEC and will now not have a level 3 qualification at the age of 16 or 17? What assessment have the Government made of which students are likely to miss out, as has been reflected by so many contributors to the debate? Is it not the truth that it will mean more students from deprived communities, more white working-class boys and girls, more BAME students, and more students from rural and small-town communities will likely not have a level 3 qualification in place? If so, what plans are in place for those students?”

James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association that is co-ordinating the campaign said: “We are delighted that Toby is backing the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign. BTECs play a vital role in helping young people to access higher education or employment. We will continue to work with Toby Perkins to ensure that students have the choice to study these valuable qualifications in the future”.

The full debate can be found at

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