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Youth joblessness falls but uncertainties continue

Yesterday's ONS labour market figures show unemployment down to 4.6%, falling from 5.5% at the height of the pandemic, with over a million vacancies.  Young workers have been the hardest hit with the 16-24 unemployment rate reaching almost 15% by September 2020, but this is now also falling  - down  to 12.9% in the May-July … Continue reading Youth joblessness falls but uncertainties continue

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Tories higher education strategy goes off the rails?

The pandemic has caused a serious crisis for Tory higher education policy. Wanting the university sector to be restricted to ‘the few’,  or at the very least, highly stratified, with the right students in the right institutions, Conservative governments have tried to establish an alternative vocational route for young people by  introducing new ‘technical’ qualifications … Continue reading Tories higher education strategy goes off the rails?

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This week’s results. Just another dose of ‘grade inflation’?

As A-level results are officially published, media platforms have already prepared the ground for another round of grade inflation. Anxious to do the best for their students, teachers will inevitably ‘mark up’. So more young people will get higher grades and top universities (those that ‘select’ rather than ‘recruit’) will be under pressure to accept … Continue reading This week’s results. Just another dose of ‘grade inflation’?

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Huge opposition to defunding BTECs

The DfE has published the results of the latest ‘consultation’ on its proposals for Level 3 post-16 qualifications.   government_responseDownload In reality this has been a limited exercise. Academic qualifications were always going to remain in their current form, with A-levels continuing to be the main route into HE.  But the government has already decided that … Continue reading Huge opposition to defunding BTECs

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More learning means more earning? Comments on some recent literature

Education is widely considered to have a significant influence on the general performance of the economy, as well as on an individual’s returns in the labour market. In contrast to the physical assets of an enterprise, education is regarded as ‘human capital’.  Because educated workers add more value, then according to this logic, the more … Continue reading More learning means more earning? Comments on some recent literature

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A-levels. Not as golden as they once were

In Post-16 Educator 104 http://post16educator.org.uk/ Created to replace the Higher School Certificate in 1951 and with only 3% of the cohort sitting them,  A-levels continued to be  elite or ‘gold standard’ qualifications, educationally narrow, with  universities having a major influence over their syllabus content.  Until 1953 A-levels were only graded as pass or fail, at … Continue reading A-levels. Not as golden as they once were

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BTEC funding facing the chop?

Eleven organisations including most of the teacher unions and the NUS  have issued a statement warning of government plans to cut funding for vocational qualifications that overlap with the new T-levels. In particular there’s concern about the future of the tried and trusted BTEC qualifications. 0621-joint-position-statement-on-agqs-final1-1Download Of course the old-style teacher assessed BTEC qualifications no … Continue reading BTEC funding facing the chop?

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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

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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