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Volume 670: debated on Monday 20 January 2020

We have made excellent progress, and we remain on track for the introduction of T-levels this September. We have selected awarding organisations to deliver the first 10 T-levels, and we continue to work closely with providers to ensure that they are ready for first teaching, including through additional funding and training.

The T-level is a wonderful example of how this Conservative Government are planning to bring back advanced vocational and technical training, providing stability and life-long skills for a new generation of workers in jobs that probably do not exist yet. As the courses are rolled out in England, will my right hon. Friend join me in encouraging the Welsh Government to observe progress and look into whether T-levels could be introduced in Wales, so that students in my constituency can also benefit from them?

I know that my hon. Friend is already distinguishing himself as a strong voice for his constituents and that he wants the very best for them. He recognises that what we are investing in T-levels across the border could bring real benefits to many of his constituents. We know that some of the major employers in his area, including Airbus, will be looking for the very best type of qualifications. It is incredibly important that Governments—not just the UK Government but the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Governments—work closely together to ensure that we get the right skillset across the whole United Kingdom. Co-operation and collaboration are the absolute essence of achieving that, and I hope to do that with the Welsh Government as well.

Is the Secretary of State aware that, in the dark old days when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, we believed in evidence-based policy, from early years right through to FE and HE? What research has he done into the efficacy of T-levels? Are they working? Does he still have a research facility in his Department?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. I would also like to thank those on the Opposition Front Bench who worked closely with us on the development of T-levels. This is one of the only reforms this Government have embarked upon that they supported. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we have not started T-levels yet, but we will understandably be looking at them closely to ensure that they are delivering what we expect them to deliver. He will no doubt also welcome the fact that we set up the Education Endowment Foundation because we were conscious that the previous Labour Government often engaged in policy without any evidence whatsoever, and we did not want to make the same mistakes.