Schools are preventing teenagers from exploring alternatives to A Levels to avoid losing pupil funding in the sixth form, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank.
Secondary schools have been legally required since last January to allow colleges to advertise vocational qualifications to pupils from the age of 12.
The think tank analysed more than 100 schools in England and found less than two fifths (37.6%) were complying with the new legislation.
Several colleges have complained ‘selective compliance’ vocational courses, such as hairdressing, are only being offered to underperforming pupils who are not ‘deemed’ fit for the sixth form.
The NHF’s chief executive Hilary Hall toldHJ exclusively the system is stacked against apprenticeships because schools and colleges rely on funding from student numbers.
She said: “We have repeatedly raised concerns about the lack of information made available to school learners about apprenticeships. This is despite an NHF survey showing apprenticeships are the preferred route of entry into our industry for a whopping 97% of employers.”
She pointed out that salons can’t always get into schools to talk to school leavers about apprenticeships, or they are fobbed off with invitations to talk to much younger pupils who are not yet making any big decisions about employment or further education.
“It doesn’t help that parents also lose benefits if a young person becomes an apprentice because they are deemed to be working and therefore earning a wage, whereas if they stay on at school or go to college, benefits are unaffected. For some families on low incomes, this makes a huge difference when it comes to making career choices.”
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