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The Bill

The Technical and Further Education Bill 2016-17 was presented in the House of Commons on 27 October 2016 and the Second Reading debate took place on 14 November 2016.

The Bill implements proposals set out in the Government’s Post – 16 Skills Plan, published in July 2016, which were developed in response to recommendations in the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education chaired by Lord Sainsbury. The Bill will rename and extend the remit of the Institute for Apprenticeships to cover college-based technical education in addition to apprenticeships.

Following on from the ongoing post-16 area reviews, part 2 of the Bill provides for the creation of an insolvency framework for further education (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 of the Bill contains measures on the provision of information by FE providers.

Committee Stage

The Committee Stage of the Technical and Further Education Bill 2016-17 took place over ten sessions between 22 November and 6 December 2016. The first two sessions were evidence taking sessions and a range of spokespersons from the FE sector and financial institutions appeared before the Committee including from: the Association of Colleges; the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association; Collab Group (formerly 157 Group); Ernst & Young; Lloyd’s Banking Group; Santander; Barclays; the National Union of Students; the Learning and Work Institute; and Blackpool and The Fylde College. Lord Sainsbury of Turville and the Further Education Commissioner also appeared before the Committee.

10 amendments were agreed during Committee Stage; all were Government amendments and all were minor and technical in nature (the majority were to correct drafting errors or cross references).

Two Opposition amendments were negatived followed divisions. One of the amendments would have required certain regulations made under the Bill to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure; the other would have prevented an education administrator from transferring assets of an FE body to a private company where they considered that more than half of the funding for the acquisition of the asset came from public funds. A number of other non-Government amendments were withdrawn following debate.

The main areas of debate during Committee Stage included:

  • On technical education:
    • The capacity of the Institute for Apprenticeships to perform the tasks assigned to it.
    • The representation of learners and apprentices on the board of the Institute for Apprenticeships.
    • The role of the Institute for Apprenticeships in promoting careers advice, widening access and participation, and reporting on the quality of apprenticeships.
    • The representation of students, trade unions and other stakeholders on the groups formed to set standards for occupations and on the groups approved to prepare apprenticeship assessment plans.
  • On insolvency and the proposed special administration regime:
    • The financial position of the FE sector.
    • The impact of insolvency procedures on an institution being put into special administration.
    • The role of the Education Administrator including: the experience required for the role, consultation with stakeholders, and the groups of students to be taken into account by the Administrator.
    • Transfer schemes.

This paper considers the amendments tabled in the Public Bill Committee and examines the most significant issues that were debated. It does not cover in detail every amendment or every clause of the Bill.

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