‘Twenty years of schoolin …’

Bob Dylan returned to media pages last week, with his Nobel Prize generating a flood of articles on the significance and influence of his music. Dylan’s scathing one-line condemnation of the American school system in the 1965 Subterranean Homesick Blues may have been a little premature, but it’s now becoming increasingly accepted, that if not … Continue reading ‘Twenty years of schoolin …’

Is there a skills crisis?  Do schools and colleges contribute to it?

  Despite performance levels in education being higher than ever, some continue to bang on about skills shortages and about young people not being ‘ready for work’. According to the British Chamber of Commerce for example, two-thirds of businesses believe that secondary schools are not effective in preparing young people for employment and could do … Continue reading Is there a skills crisis?  Do schools and colleges contribute to it?

Under-Grads, NEETs and the Apprenticeship Levy

The Certified Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) considered one the leading commentators on skill development and the labour market, has just published an extensive report about the  ‘mismatch’ between graduates and the work they do. http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/policy-reports/overqualification-skills-mismatch-graduate-labour-market.aspx CIPD estimates that 58% of graduates are now underemployed, doing work for which they are over qualified –even … Continue reading Under-Grads, NEETs and the Apprenticeship Levy

Parents climb walls to help their children cheat.

This astonishing picture from the Indian state of Bihar, published by  several news agencies (also as part of a Daily Telegraph video report), provides a chilling example of the faltering relationship between educational credentials and the labour market.  Some were apparently trying to hand in answer sheets folded into paper planes to the 12th grade … Continue reading Parents climb walls to help their children cheat.

GCSE with Chinese Characteristics (East Asian Illusions Part 2)

Ofqual justifies the latest reforms to GCSE in terms of needing to peg grades against those achieved in China and other East Asian countries, even if making these ‘incomparable comparisons’ raises as many questions as they provide answers and continues to ignore an array of other reasons for the staggering economic performance of these countries.   (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/apr/02/tougher-marking-gcses-peg-grades-chinese-students-results) … Continue reading GCSE with Chinese Characteristics (East Asian Illusions Part 2)

East Asian Illusions.

Martin Allen     (due to appear in Education for Liberation Journal of the Socialist Teachers Alliance, NUT Conference  April 2014) Though his right-wing ideological credentials cannot be disputed; Michael Gove also continues to justify many of his curriculum changes in the context of the UK’s declining international economic performance and says we should import learning practices of … Continue reading East Asian Illusions.

A Great Training Robbery? Initial Research on Apprentices

A NEW DIRECTION FOR VOCATIONAL LEARNING OR A GREAT TRAINING ROBBERY? INITIAL RESEARCH INTO AND ANALYSIS OF THE REINVENTION OF APPRENTICESHIPS AT THE START OF THE 21ST CENTURY                                                                    ESRC Seminar   28/02/14    Martin Allen & Patrick Ainley The new emphasis placed on apprenticeships by the Coalition (achieving 1.5 million starts since coming to office) is a response … Continue reading A Great Training Robbery? Initial Research on Apprentices

South Korea’s never ending schooling.

Another round of PISA tables puts the educational establishment on the defensive about the UK’s mediocre performance.  It’s certainly true the way the comparisons are made is open to dispute (www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10191157/International-school-league-tables-utterly-wrong.html) and it’s also right to argue that Michael Gove’s policies continue to undermine teacher trust and lower morale still further. It’s equally the case … Continue reading South Korea’s never ending schooling.

Education has become like running up a down escalator

http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/19169                                  Think Piece' for National Union of Teachers .                                                       Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley While most teachers rightly consider that education has an intrinsic value and isn’t just about passing exams, for most of their students and invariably their parents, a ‘good education’ enables you to ‘get on’ in life and to pursue … Continue reading Education has become like running up a down escalator