Young people, education and skills:  Nothing new in the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper

The Levelling Up White Paper adds little to the Tories existing policies designed to 'upskill' young people. Way down in the policies chapter, you’ll find, amongst other things,  proposals to. Create a handful of specialist 16-19 Maths schoolsAllow ‘talented’ 16-year-olds from disadvantaged areas to be fast tracked entries to high performing sixth forms. New ones … Continue reading Young people, education and skills:  Nothing new in the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper

Reforming the Curriculum (part 2)

The previous post (below) addressed 'powerful knowledge', equated with 'knowledge of the powerful', ( a ruling class, or Elite depending on how you want to characterise things). This knowledge, it was argued, appears ‘fixed,’ intrinsically superior, but is also essential in ensuring ‘legitimacy’. In other words its intrinsic qualities are used to justify a wider social … Continue reading Reforming the Curriculum (part 2)

Reforming the Curriculum

While reformers (now even many Tories)  continue to emphasise education’s potential role in challenging inequalities  through expanding opportunities,   radical practitioners go further and argue an alternative curriculum is necessary.   Here they are have been joined by left wing academics , who influenced by the  writings of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci or, in this country, by the work … Continue reading Reforming the Curriculum

UK employers look to hire school leavers as skills shortage bites (?)

An interesting piece in the Financial Times this week,   arguing that employers are planning to recruit more school leavers rather than just rely on graduates. ftDownload Rather than the ‘generic’ skills that graduates have, the FT reports that employers are short of recruits with ‘specific’ skills and can’t rely on the government’s further education reforms to provide … Continue reading UK employers look to hire school leavers as skills shortage bites (?)

Leaving labour.

The latest ONS labour market data (published at the start of this week) shows unemployment falling to 4.2 per cent.  Redundancies remained below pre-pandemic levels, with just 1.2 unemployed per vacancy. In other words  the  effects on joblessness of ending of the furlough appear  limited. Having said this,the ONS says  it is still possible that people made redundant were … Continue reading Leaving labour.

BTEC funding – a one year reprieve (so far)

The Skills Bill is currently completing its progress through Parliament where  some of the most vocal opponents to the proposals to defund BTECs have been members of the House of Lords - in particular former Secretaries of State for Education,  Ken Baker, the instigator of the National Curriculum under Mrs Thatcher, but now a campaigner for … Continue reading BTEC funding – a one year reprieve (so far)

The House of Lords and the Young Unemployed.

Their Lordships, even if, as one of the most archaic parts of the British state, many of whom are unlikely to have had any real personal contact with working class young people, have commissioned a two hundred page report on youth joblessness. lords-reportDownload With a committee membership stretching from Lord (Kenneth) Baker, as education minister … Continue reading The House of Lords and the Young Unemployed.

Review: The Automation debate

Phil Jones . Work without the Worker. Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism (Verso 2021) This readable and informative book explores the  abusive nature of crowd-working platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and its emulators.  Here under the banner of 'technological progress',  extreme forms of exploitation have developed and a  new generation of  ‘micro-workers’ has emerged.  Forced … Continue reading Review: The Automation debate

‘Skills, Skills, Skills’ – Sunak’s £1.6 billion for the T’s.

To help tweak the  “skills revolution” Chancellor Sunak will provide £1.6 billion for 16-19 education.  Though much less than college bosses have called for, a large amount of this will be funding for  100,000 16- to 19-year-olds studying for T-levels, the new and controversial technical-based qualifications launched in three vocational areas in September 2020 at the height of the … Continue reading ‘Skills, Skills, Skills’ – Sunak’s £1.6 billion for the T’s.