Can the Wolf Report save vocational education?
Is there still educational life in the variety and diversity of curriculum offers entailed in the vocational route?
The recent Wolf Report was widely welcomed for its honesty and plain speaking about the state of vocational education in England. Noting that up to 400,000 students are on courses that will not get them a job, Alison Wolf proposed a number of solutions to the current ‘vocational crisis’. These ranged from the complex - stopping the ‘tracking’ of 14 to 16 year olds into ‘dead-end’ courses - to the simple: stop lying to young people about useless qualifications. Instead, Wolf asks educators and policy makers to look abroad for best practice to places such as Denmark, France and Germany and to make sure that every English child has a ‘C’ grade in English and Maths before doing anything else. Wolf also criticised the poor state of apprenticeships in the UK and the range of ‘perverse incentives’ to get meaningless qualifications.
What is the true state of the vocational system at present, and can the situation be remedied? Or is there still educational life in the variety and diversity of curriculum offers entailed in the vocational route? And what is wrong with getting a qualification in something, as long as it is better than nothing? But is it?
The Education Forum discussion format is specifically designed to explore what it is you might have been thinking but were previously unsure about asking, so please join us at this interesting discussion!
Michael Young, professor of education
Mark Taylor, secondary school teacher