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This paper has been written for the House of Commons Second Reading debate of the Technical and Further Education Bill 2016-17 which is scheduled for 14 November 2016.The Bill was presented in the House of Commons on 27 October 2016.

The Bill’s proposals aim to improve the quality of technical education (TE), address skill shortages and support the Government’s social mobility agenda.

The Bill implements measures set out in the Government’s Post – 16 Skills Plan which was published in July 2016; these proposals were developed in response to recommendations in the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education chaired by Lord Sainsbury. The Bill will extend the role of the Institute for Apprenticeships to cover technical education and classroom-based TE in addition to apprenticeships. It also includes measures which support the Institute’s establishment and remit regarding apprenticeships.

The further education (FE) measures in the Bill support the Government’s ongoing Area-based Review of FE provision – this Review aims to create a more financially resilient and stable FE sector. The results of the Reviews may lead to mergers, or closures of some colleges. In the event that a college becomes insolvent in the future, the Bill will create a new insolvency regime. A consultation on an insolvency regime was launched in July 2016[1] and the Government’s response to the proposals was published alongside the Bill.[2] 

Additional measures in the Bill regarding FE information aim to ensure that the Secretary of State for Education continues to be provided with data on the FE sector after the transfer of skills provision and the Adult Education Budget to combined authorities as part of the Government’s devolution programme.

The Bill is in four parts:

  • Part 1 renames the Institute for Apprenticeships the “Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education” and makes consequential changes. Schedule 1 extends the remit of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
  • Part 2 creates an insolvency framework for FE corporations and sixth form colleges and creates a new special administration regime for FE corporations, sixth form corporations, and companies which run designated institutions in England and Wales.
  • Part 3 extends the statutory duty to provide information on FE in the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to cover providers of FE who receive funding from the combined authorities.
  • Part 4 contains general provisions.

Four schedules to the Bill contain detail on some of the measures.

This briefing paper provides background on the main provisions of the Bill, contains comment and raises issues. The Paper follows the outline of the Bill but is not intended to be an exhaustive clause-by-clause analysis; the Explanatory Notes to the Bill, published alongside it, provide explanation of individual clauses. The Bill and accompanying documents are available on the Parliament website at Technical and Further Education Bill 2016-17.

The following documents contain information which is relevant to the Bill:

Clause 1 and schedule 1 of the Bill extend to England only; clauses 2 to 38 and schedules 2 to 4 extend to England and Wales. A detailed table showing the territorial extent of clauses in the Bill is set out in Annex A of the Explanatory Notes on page 19.

The following library briefing papers are of relevance to the Bill’s provisions:

[1]     Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges Consultation on Developing an Insolvency Regime for the Sector July 2016

[2]     Department for Education, Developing an Insolvency Regime for the FE and Sixth Form College Sector Government consultation response October 2016

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