Thursday, 7 March 2013

Technical Matters: Building a high quality technical and vocational route through the education system

a report by Dr Owen Corrigan, edited by Lucy Lee and published by Policy Exchange (January 2013)


This report advances the case for building a high quality technical and vocational route through the education system from 14–19 as an alternative to traditional academic education.

The education system in England from age 14 emphasises academic study in a way that may disadvantage applied and practical alternatives. Reforms around the EBacc have focused schools on a traditional set of academic subjects. Large numbers of students drop out of A-levels, while many more are disengaged from education long before that. Meanwhile, employers complain that school-leavers and graduates are not work-ready. A distinct alternative route through the education system with a focus on technical and vocational subjects could serve to expand choice and better meet the needs of young people and business.

Vocational education has come in for deserved criticism of late. Much provision has been dead end and designed to serve the interests of schools not learners. How do we ensure that an alternative route focused on technical and vocational education not only expands student choice but also delivers high quality provision that facilitates effective progression to meaningful destinations in further/higher education and the labour market?

This report looks to best practice at home and abroad to identify how technical and vocational education provision needs to change to best meet the needs of learners. We make recommendations designed to improve the quality of provision, to secure the effective progression of students through the system to the courses and destinations that are right for them, and to allow specialist technical and vocational institutions like Further Education colleges to compete more effectively with schools in the marketplace for 14–19 education.

Full text (PDF 90pp)

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