Westminster Higher Education Forum

Reforming higher technical education in England - Level 4 and 5 qualifications, funding, regulation and the introduction of Institutes of Technology

Morning, Thursday, 31st October 2019

Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’ Street, London SW1A 1LR


The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss themes emerging from the Department for Education’s recently announced consultation on plans to improve the quality of higher technical education in England.

It follows the recently unveiled plans by the Education Secretary to rename and revamp qualifications at level 4 and 5 into a new suite of Higher Technical Qualifications, with the objectives of boosting uptake and ensuring quality at this level.

The seminar also follows the recently published Augar review of post-18 education and funding, which recommended the introduction of a lifelong learning allowance at level 4-5 for adults without a degree.

Delegates will consider:

  • What the new qualifications should look like to ensure that they meet the needs of students, employers and the wider economy;
  • How a smooth transition from T-Levels and support for onward progression can be developed;
  • Key issues for delivery;
  • Improving employer engagement; and
  • Ensuring that the reformed qualifications are of sufficient quality to secure high take-up.

They will also discuss funding arrangements for both providers and learners including looking at the potential introduction of lifelong learning allowance as recommended in the Augar review, and the impact this would have on delivery and take-up.

Those attending will also look at the regulation of the new qualifications and the potential roles of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual and the Office for Students.

Following the recent announcement of the first 12 Institutes of Technology, expected to start opening in September, delegates will look forward to how successful candidates will implement their institute proposals, and their likely wider impact particularly in developing skills in areas such as advanced manufacturing, infrastructure and digital.

Delegates will also consider the regional coverage of announced winners, levels of funding, and the prevalence of cold spots in the coverage of higher technical education across England.

Further sessions look at the logistics and planning of provision, with concerns surrounding the coverage and consistency of higher technical education.

Delegates will discuss how data capture and cooperation with local government can be improved so as to ensure the supply of higher technical education provision is matched with demand - and to avoid regional cold spots and combat skills shortages in particular areas.

We also expect discussion on providing for the expansion of the FE workforce - and the infrastructure to support them - to match growth in the sector, as well as maintaining quality standards.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Janice Kay

Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter

Keynote Speakers

Professor Janice Kay

Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter

Craig Myers

Head, Higher Technical Education, Department for Education

Bethany Hughes

Senior manager of Strategic Relationships, Ofqual


Adrian Bailey MP

Rt Hon the Baroness Garden of Frognal

Deputy Speaker (Lords)


Nikos Savvas

Principal, West Suffolk College

Anna Round

Senior Research Fellow, North East, IPPR

Simon Field

Director, Skills Policy

Clare Riley

FE and HE Engagement Manager, Microsoft

Chris Young

Lead, Apprentice and Skills, EDF Energy

Martin Hottass

Managing Director, City & Guilds Institutes of Advanced Technology

Paul Steer

Head of Policy, OCR

Rachel Staples

Head, Qualifications and Product Development, Association of Accounting Technicians

Nic Hutchins

Principal Skills Manager, Apprenticeships, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Dr Arti Saraswat

Senior Policy Manager, Higher Education, Association of Colleges

Senior speaker confirmed from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education