Reforming the upper secondary curriculum

Until relatively recently,   discussion  about an alternative curriculum for 14-19, the upper secondary years bloomed, with a variety of initiatives promoting either ‘over-arching’ certificates to link and equate academic and vocational learning, or even their full integration in a general diploma. Yet  maybe a certain weariness was already creeping in, not helped by the fact … Continue reading Reforming the upper secondary curriculum


FE White Paper critiques

Read my contribution Another round of vocational qualifications won't create good jobs pse-allenDownload along with other critiques of the Further Education White Paper in the latest edition of Post 16 Educator http://www.post16educator.org.uk Download Martin Allen & Patrick Ainley's Skills without Jobs? The Further Education White Paper and beyond skills-without-jobsDownload


A Job guarantee scheme not ‘Kickstart’

Faced with the threat of a huge rise in youth unemployment in the final quarter of 2020, Chancellor Sunak set up Kickstart. Providing £2billion funding to create sixth month job placements for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment,  Employers of all sizes were encouraged to apply for funding … Continue reading A Job guarantee scheme not ‘Kickstart’


‘Closing the gap’—education and social mobility.

 The fight for ‘equal opportunities’ has been a  major aim of education reformers and campaigners. A fairer education system has also been considered integral if ‘social mobility’ is to be increased. But for years, researchers have reaffirmed the importance of social background and social origin on school performance, arguing that ‘education cannot compensate for society’. … Continue reading ‘Closing the gap’—education and social mobility.


Williamson’s White Paper: ‘Skills Without Jobs’?

The much-awaited White Paper skills-for-jobs-lifelong-learning-for-opportunity-and-growthDownload has been published this week. It's a long and tedious read, but here's an initial response. Rather than just summarising the contents, it seeks to provide some context. Almost every serious analysis of changes in the occupational structure at the start of the 21st century recognises an increased polarisation of … Continue reading Williamson’s White Paper: ‘Skills Without Jobs’?


Student resistance grows, but real alternatives still needed for the Covid Generation

See articles from latest edition at http://post16educator.org.uk/ Post-16 Educator Issue 102, January to March 2021 Winter has closed in on the ‘CovidGeneration’. Youth unemployment continues to creep up, with over 10 percent of 18-24 year-olds not in full-time educationofficially out of work in the period August to October2020, and another 15 per cent categorised as‘economically … Continue reading Student resistance grows, but real alternatives still needed for the Covid Generation


Labour and the economy.

What should we make of Anneliese Dodd’s first big speech, last week, on Labour’s economic policies?  The Financial Times (Jan 13th) considered it part of the process of making Labour more ‘responsible’, while parts of the Corbynista press have framed it as yet another example of the Party’s ‘move to the right’. They cite Dodd’s … Continue reading Labour and the economy.


Review: Aaron Benanav, Automation and the Future of Work

Verso 2020 Aaron Benanav is becoming a cult figure with parts of the Left. His short, but intriguing book sets out to refute arguments that capitalist economies are experiencing profound changes in the production process because of automation. Rather than a Second Machine Age or a Fourth Industrial Revolution creating a new ‘technological unemployment’, the … Continue reading Review: Aaron Benanav, Automation and the Future of Work


The covid crisis will lead to increased automation

An increasing amount of literature predicts a Jobless Future, because of automation and AI - with the Bank of England recently estimating that 40% of current jobs – including some considered to be ‘professional’ could be lost in the next few decades, a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or a Second Machine Age. Yet … Continue reading The covid crisis will lead to increased automation


Spending Review: how should Labour respond?

According to the Chancellor and the OBR, the UK is facing an economic contraction of 11.3 per cent this year, the largest fall in output for 300 years - representing an ‘economic emergency’. The OBR is forecasting a surge in unemployment to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of next year when Covid job … Continue reading Spending Review: how should Labour respond?


Should university admission procedures be changed?

The government has announced that it will review higher education admissions to improve social mobility. Gavin Williamson says the current admissions system penalises bright pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds. While the overall trend is for grades to be over-predicted, Institute of Education research says that socially disadvantaged students are likely to be marked down. The … Continue reading Should university admission procedures be changed?


Covid and the furlough – new types of green jobs, backed by automation is the way forward.

Writing about industrial capitalism over 150 years ago, Marx thought that the replacement of workers by machines would be a consequence of increased competition and the push to restore the rate of profit. This would lead to mass unemployment and increased poverty and misery amongst the proletariat. Yet at least, until now, falls in the … Continue reading Covid and the furlough – new types of green jobs, backed by automation is the way forward.

Not a good time to be a NEET.

Published youth unemployment figures are often misleading because they usually include full-time students who are seeking or are in-between temporary jobs  and  also because now, many young workers in sectors shut down by Covid 9, may be furloughed  in ‘zombie jobs’, unlikely to exist when the job protection measures end. But latest statistics for NEETs, (those … Continue reading Not a good time to be a NEET.

Young people – unemployed and underemployed.

As has been the case for some time, the monthly ONS statistics, released this week, don’t provide an accurate account of what’s really happening in the labour market -- everything continues to be distorted by the fact that up to 4 million are estimated to be furloughed. It's complicated further, because employers have much greater … Continue reading Young people – unemployed and underemployed.