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
With A-level results announced earlier in the day, UCAS reported 409 000 successful university placements – up 3% against A level results day in 2014 and including 362,000 students accepted to their first choice. The 5% increase in 18 year olds and a 2% growth in those 19 has been at the expense of older students. There’s … Continue reading As A-level juggernaut rolls on, is it really ‘university or apprenticeships’?
The CBI’s John Cridland has re-opened the debate about the 14-19 curriculum. http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/john-cridland-festival-of-education-speech/ Cridland has called for GCSE to be abolished within 5 years ‘High-stakes exams at 16 are from a bygone era’ and, in a further swipe at the Gove/Morgan examination reforms, for the status of vocational learning to be upgraded. ‘For too … Continue reading CBI’s curriculum proposals. A step forward, but big questions remain
Still running the show? Last week’s secondary school league tables began to bed down the first of Michael Gove’s examination changes for 14-19. The 2014 tables excluded performances in resits or in BTEC style vocational qualifications –and gave further prominence to English Baccalaureate subjects. As a result many schools found that though their overall performance in … Continue reading New league tables bed down Gove’s curriculum
Radicaled has posted critiques of Labour’s polices for 14-19 year olds to emphasise the continuity with those of Lord (Kenneth) Baker, whose support for a strong academic –vocational separation and in particular, for University Technology Colleges (UTCs) offering employment specialisms, led to Tory tensions with Gove’s ‘grammar school education for all’ approach. https://radicaled.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/tristram-hunt-and-two-nation-labour/ https://radicaled.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/tech-bacc-step-back/ As … Continue reading ‘All in it together’
The recent publication of official papers from the 1980s provides further context to the introduction of GCSEs. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/30/national-archives-revelations-released-documents . The new common exam, reflected the growth of comprehensive schools, many being given the go ahead by Thatcher herself, while a dual system of CSE and GCE O-level examinations, the former still acting primarily as a … Continue reading GCSEs, Margaret Thatcher and Michael Gove
After months of concern, alarm bells are ringing over accreditation of new A-level syllabuses http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/02/headteachers-criticise-government-chaotic-a-level-reform-delays Maths and further maths have been put back a year to 2017, while chemistry and English literature syllabuses, due to be taught from 2105 have yet to be given the green-light by Ofqual. With continued doubts about the new GCSEs also … Continue reading Gove’s exam reforms may still come off the rails
Another year of university ‘clearing’ swings into gear; but it now takes a very different form compared to when originally established to help those who had missed out on their grades having a second opportunity to gain a place elsewhere. Despite tuition fee hikes and Coalition members continuing to ‘talk up’ failing apprenticeships as an … Continue reading A-level of uncertainty
Labour has published Qualifications Matter, proposals for 14-19 education, as part of its Policy Review (www.yourbritain.org.uk/uploads/editor/files/Skills_Taskforce_3rd_report.pdf) . It’s going ahead with its support for a Tech-Bacc, something announced by Ed Miliband two years ago and designed for the ‘Forgotten 50%’ of school leavers who do not go to university. Under Labour’s proposals, all 14 year … Continue reading Tech-Bacc, step back.
Kenneth Baker’s 14-18 A New Vision for Secondary Education was published earlier this year, as Michael Gove’s offensive on the secondary curriculum continued unabatedly. Concerned about how the emphasis on Ebacc subjects would marginalise vocational learning and openly critical of Alison Wolf’s proposal that vocational options should be restricted to 20% of the Key Stage … Continue reading Book Review: Baker’s proposals are not a real alternative to Gove.