Should students be able to end academic education at 14 in favour of vocational training.
Are less able students being pushed into vocational courses and pupils forced to make important decisions about their future at too young an age?
It is not acceptable that, at the age of 14, pupils may be forced into specific learning routes which could restrict their future education or career choices.
The NUT has long argued that all students should have access to a broad and balanced curriculum within a single diploma framework.
The government needs to create a single overarching qualification that embraces all young people and does not label them as one thing or another at such a young age.
Eddie Ritson – Executive Member of the National Union of Teachers
I think as long as students have obtained a minimum level of academic standards, which would need to be defined, then for a percentage of students the option of then undertaking vocational education only is a positive possibility for them and the economy. It would improve the morale of such students, that would normally be struggling with the prospect of academic only qualifications.
Trish Barker – Parent
The main objective of education is to open up opportunities for young people. I would be very worried if students were locked into a particular career path at the age of 14. There is a danger that UTC’s will become places only for lower achievers and that this will impact mainly on disadvantaged young people. Scarce resources would be much better used helping existing colleges and schools achieve the aim of the improving student achievement and social mobility.
Rob Peacock – Principal, Carmel College, St Helens
Personalised learning programmes and pathways are essential if we are to engage young people and enable more of them to achieve success and become successful members of society. Clearly basic skills of literacy, numeracy and IT are prerequisites, but the flexibility to follow a ‘vocational’ pathway as opposed to a purely academic one must be preserved if we are to maximize the potential of all young people.
John Patino – Deputy Headteacher, Alsop High School, Liverpool