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
It’s over 5 years now since Michael Gove’s decision to bow to his critics and retain GCSEs. But despite this humiliating reversal, Gove, who had arrogantly lectured the education establishment on the need to introduce new English Baccalaureate certificates in key subjects, still managed to impose his educational priorities and undermine much of what was … Continue reading Key Stage 4: what price a campaign?
This year’s GCSE results have been met with (deserved) criticism over the new grading system, the changes to assessment and the emphasis that continues to be placed on ‘high status’ Ebacc subjects at the expense of others. All of these have resulted in further pressure and anxiety for the ‘exam generation’ – yet discussion about … Continue reading GCSE – do we really need it?