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Lords examines Post-16 Education Bill at third reading

15 October 2021

An image representing technical and skills training.

The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill has its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Monday 25 October. 

The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill makes provisions for further education, technical education and training to support people to develop skills. 

Final checks

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making any small changes to ensure it is effective. 

No changes to the wording of the bill have been put forward ahead of third reading. Members may discuss the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.  

Get involved

Watch and read the debate

Watch live on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard from three hours after the debate.

Explore further information

Find out more in the House of Lords Library Skills and Post-16 Education Bill briefing.

What's happened so far?

Report stage day two: Thursday 21 October

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider at report stage. Members speaking discussed subjects from the amendment list and voted on five changes to the bill.

Technical qualifications and apprenticeships

The first vote was amendment 35A, which seeks to ensure schools and colleges let other training providers give careers advice, talking to their students about alternative courses and apprenticeships available to them.

Members voted 180 in favour and 130 against, so the change was made.

Universal Credit

The second vote was on amendment 15, which aims to prevent benefit rules causing problems for adults wanting to enrol on courses if they are unemployed and in receipt of Universal Credit. 

Members voted 166 in favour and 150 against, so the change was made.

Lifelong learning

The third vote was on amendment 45A. This requires the Secretary of State to publish an annual report on the impact of funding restrictions on those who want to study on a qualification course at a level equivalent to or lower than one they already hold.

Members voted in 160 favour and 150 against, so the change was made.

Special educational needs

The fourth vote was on amendment 46, which seeks to ensure there is sufficient special educational needs training for teachers working in further education.

Members voted 169 in favour and 150 against, so the change was made.

Education and skills development

The final vote was on amendment 50, which ensures that a person of any age has the right to free education on an approved course up to Level 3 (eg. A Level) if he or she has not already studied at that level.

The amendment also ensures that employers spend at least two-thirds of the apprenticeship levy on people aged between 16 and 25.

Members voted 126 in favour and 116 against, so the change was made.

Government amendments

Amendments proposed by the government to criminalise cheating services such as essay mills, and allow for the conversion of 16-to-19 sixth-forms with religious character to academies were also accepted. 

Catch up Parliament TV (part one and part two) or read a Lords Hansard transcript (part one and part two).

Report stage day one: Tuesday 12 October

Proposed changes

Members  put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider at report stage.

The amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • the role and powers of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

  • ensuring information, advice and guidance bodies, local authorities and Mayoral Combined Authorities are included when developing local skills improvement plans

  • ensuring that green skills and jobs are considered in the development of local skills improvement plans.

There were four divisions (votes) on proposed amendments to the bill. 

Local skills improvement plans

The first vote was on amendment 11, which requires local and mayoral combined authorities, as well as colleges and other training providers to be included in the process to develop local skills improvement plans (LSIP’s). This would ensure the LSIP’s, which would require education providers to deliver education or training relevant to local needs, would reflect the needs of learners, employers and communities.

Members voted 193 in favour and 186 against, so the change was made.

Level 3 vocational courses

The second vote was on amendment 29, which ensures that the new T-Levels are fully rolled out and acceptable to students, employers and universities before approval for established vocational qualifications, such as BTECs, is removed.

Members voted 155 in favour and 150 against, so the change was made.

Multiple qualifications

The third vote was on amendment 31, which ensures that students wishing to take two BTECs or equivalent vocational qualifications will be allowed to do so.

Members voted 148 in favour and 129 against, so the change was made.

Funding

The final vote was on amendment 33, which ensures that where a technical education qualification has its approval withdrawn, funding may not be withdrawn by the Secretary of State without public consultation and the consent of the relevant employer representative bodies.

Members voted 135 in favour and 135 against.

In accordance with Standing Order 55, which provides that no proposal to amend a Bill in the form in which it is before the House, shall be agreed to unless there is a majority in favour of such amendment, the change was not made.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day four: Wednesday 21 July

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to the bill to be discussed.

Members speaking discussed a range of subjects from the list of changes, including:

  • lifelong loan entitlement
  • special educational needs provision
  • funding for arts and creative subjects. 

Find out about all the issues members discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day three: Monday 19 July

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to the bill to be discussed.

Members speaking discussed a range of subjects from the list of changes, including:

  •  reviewing the Kickstart scheme
  •  the quality of careers advice
  •  legislating against cheating services.

Find out about all the issues members discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day two: Thursday 15 July

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to the bill to be discussed.

Members speaking discussed changes on a wide range of subjects, including:

  • ensuring the needs of students are considered and reviewed
  • the function of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education
  • funding for other technical qualifications.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcipt in Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 6 July

Proposed changes

Members speaking on day one of committee stage put forward changes (PDF) to the bill to discuss.

Members challenged the government on a range of subjects, including:

  • the scope of Local Skills Improvement Plans
  • membership of employer representative boards
  • the alignment of future skills, capabilities and expertise with the UK's net zero target.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Second reading: Tuesday 15 June

Members discussed the main issues in the bill during second reading. For example:

  • Local Skills Improvement Plans
  • apprenticeships and technical education qualifications
  • part-time study and adult-education.

Members speaking

Speakers taking part reflected the depth of professional experience of the House's membership:

  • four former secretaries of state for education and two former ministers for universities and science
  • four former teachers
  • educators in specialist areas such as film and agriculture.

Baroness Berridge (Conservative), Minister for the School System, opened the debate and respond on behalf of the government.

Members speaking included:

Baroness Black of Strome (Crossbench), Pro Vice Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University, made her maiden speach.

Find out about all the issued discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in Lords Hansard.

Image: Xi Wang on Unsplash