The rise and fall of vocational education

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

As A-level juggernaut rolls on, is it really ‘university or apprenticeships’?

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’?

CBI’s curriculum proposals. A step forward, but big questions remain

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

New league tables bed down Gove’s curriculum

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

‘All in it together’

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’

GCSEs, Margaret Thatcher and Michael Gove

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

Gove’s exam reforms may still come off the rails

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