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?
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?
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!
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. 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
The government has asked for views on withdrawing public funding from qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds that overlap with either A-levels or the new T-levels. Promoted as a progressive policy, it could have severe implications for the BTEC courses long established in sixth forms and colleges. More than 200,000 16 to 18-year-olds study BTEC courses … Continue reading BTECs facing the axe?
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
Calling for GCSEs to be scrapped is not new – that this time it comes from the Conservative Chair of the Commons education select committee is. Robert Halfon a Tory ‘moderniser’ who also supports a Norway style Brexit arrangement, is following in the footsteps of a long line of business leaders, think –tank directors and … Continue reading Common’s Chair calls for abolition of GCSE
Another set of public examination results. This time round, after years of bleating about falling standards, media attention has focussed on the stress caused to young people - this year’s cohort being the first to endure the new subject requirements. Many on the Left correctly argue that education has become ‘commodified’. But anyone trying to … Continue reading Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE
A new issue of Forum has just been published. It contains a series of articles about Labour’s plans for a National Education Service. It goes without saying that in general Labour’s policy should be welcomed, but some of its post-16 proposals are more problematic. In one of the contributions, Patrick Ainley and myself explain why … Continue reading A new issue of Forum