The Guardian (Editorial February 20th) has now joined the attack on University Technology Colleges* correctly arguing that directing ‘non-academic’ students’ onto a vocational curriculum at 14 - what it terms ‘backdoor selection’ - is wrong. Some five years after Alison Wolf’s review had slammed many qualifications for being ‘worthless’ in the labour market, the paper likens the … Continue reading A good general education for everybody
University Technology Colleges (UTCs) for 14-19 year olds, were established during Michael Gove’s period as Education Secretary but are most associated with Lord (Kenneth) Baker, the creator of the original ten subject national curriculum under Mrs Thatcher, but now a campaigner for better vocational education. Baker argued that Britain’s economic difficulties and low rates of … Continue reading Schools that nobody really wants?
As 2016 draws to a close we are still awaiting a statement on the English Baccalaureate/ upper secondary curriculum from new Secretary of State. Justin Greening - the consultation period for Ebacc ended almost a year ago. Nicky Morgan’s – now largely shelved –White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere reaffirmed the Cameron government’s objectives of a 90% participation rate … Continue reading 14-19 hiatus
The NUT has just released King’s College research on the effects of government policies on the secondary curriculum. Based on a sample of 1800 secondary members and in depth school case studies, key findings show amongst other things: 74% of teachers consider the Ebacc requirements are dramatically narrowing the curriculum. 84% worry that the excessive … Continue reading Important NUT research on the secondary curriculum
Last week the Department for Education released provisional performance data for secondary schools.* The data includes the number of students ‘entering’ and ‘achieving’ the EBacc, Michael Gove's flagship qualification designed to restore 'rigour' to the curriculum. For the former it’s 39.6% of all state funded students, up from 38.6% for 2014/15 and still nowhere near … Continue reading EBacc gets stuck?
There will be a new headline performance measure for secondary schools from September 2016. Schools will no longer be ranked according to the number of students passing achieving 5 A* to C GCSEs. Instead, Attainment 8 data will record the average score for their year 11 students across 8 subjects. More significantly they will … Continue reading The EBacc and Progress 8
Full-time vocational education courses developed in colleges and school sixth-forms in response to increased staying on rates from the 1980s. They were seen as alternatives to academic learning and offered through training organisations like City & Guilds and BTEC now long since subsumed into larger examination awarding bodies. They concentrated on particular occupational areas, particularly … Continue reading The rise and fall of vocational education