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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

As Education ministers pull plug on vocational qualifications, what future for BTECs?

The government has announced a further pruning of vocational and technical education.  According to the DfE, there are some 12 000 different qualifications - many of which, it argues have few or no students.  In this respect the decision to cull  almost half of them, could as the Department claims, represent an attempt to bring … Continue reading As Education ministers pull plug on vocational qualifications, what future for BTECs?

UTCs. Another expensive failure?

What's happened to University Technology Colleges - the 14-19 schools created by one time Secretary of State Kenneth (now Lord) Baker? Citing ‘academic snobbery’ for the failure to establish proper technical education in this country, which he argues has caused skill shortages and contributed to further industrial decline, Baker has established  60 UTCs with  employer … Continue reading UTCs. Another expensive failure?

25 T-Levels coming your way!

  The government has just published another Action Plan (apparently this is the third!)  for T-levels, now buoyed by the enthusiasm of Secretary of State Gavin Williamson ‘a former FE student myself’ for vocational alternatives. Having much in common with Labour’s Specialist Diplomas, there are some important differences. Unlike the post-16 Ts, the Dips started … Continue reading 25 T-Levels coming your way!

‘Doing it better than the Germans’. Gavin Williamson and pies in the sky.

Over a third of German secondary school students go on to a vocational/technical programme.  Now, Gavin Williamson, the latest in what is getting to be a long line of Tory education ministers, has promised that UK young people will have even better opportunities than young Germans, by the end of the next decade. https://www.tes.com/news/gavin-williamsons-tory-conference-speech-full   … Continue reading ‘Doing it better than the Germans’. Gavin Williamson and pies in the sky.

Another year of A-level results

Another year of A-level results. Attention has focused on the slight dip in performance levels particularly for As and A*s grades. Yet this is due to a ’comparative outcomes’ approach to assessment, introduced by Michael Gove during  his ransacking of state education. Gove considered that examination boards where deliberately manipulating grade boundaries and causing ‘grade … Continue reading Another year of A-level results

T-Levels limp on

I've posted previously on T-levels and published widely on the problems and limitations of a 'vocational route' for increasing opportunities for young people. Despite being  reinvented and repackaged every few years,  vocational qualifications have never achieved 'parity' with academic learning and with employment changing and the possibility of swathes of jobs disappearing or being replaced … Continue reading T-Levels limp on