Vocational education, education, education is one of the new best solutions for both Conservative and Labour parties in the lead-up to the next election. Intermediate skills for middle-skilled occupations are expected to address the needs of employers, and overcome unemployment and under-employment, particularly amongst young people, where the unemployment rate remains close to 20%. It may seem strange to suggest that vocational education and training is the solution to achieving these skills for the Coalition Government, in the light of Alison Wolf’s very public vilification of vocational qualifications used in schools. But there is a quiet revolution taking place in 14-19 education, which has created dedicated vocational routes from the age of 14. Continue reading Can renewed interest in vocational education and training lead to its revitalisation?
The school curriculum has been a central issue for social justice since the start of state education. From the distinct curricula of class-divided Victorian schools, the move towards a common currriculum has been uncertain and problematic. Even after 1945 divisions were continued, posited on the myth of genetic intellectual differences.
The spread of comprehensive schools, and the school leaving age raised to 16, created new possibilities around the 1970s. Innovations supported by LEAs and the Schools Council emphasised more investigative and engaged approaches to learning and a greater connectedness to daily life. Bridges were built from young people’s experience to high-status knowledge. Continue reading Social justice: a common curriculum