Exam reforms “not enough”

17th September 2012

Exam reforms proposed by Michael Gove won’t go far enough, according to education charity the Edge Foundation.

Lord Baker of Dorking, Chair of the Edge Foundation, says "learning by doing" must be part of every young person's education.

Launching a wide-ranging policy statement, 'Six Steps for Change', Lord Baker said:

"It's vital that schools and colleges provide education which develops practical skills and personal qualities as well as subject knowledge.  This has to include opportunities to learn by doing. 

"This isn't about the skills needed for a particular job. It's about understanding how maths and English - and many other school subjects - are used at work and in adult life.

"And not just that: it's also about teamwork, solving problems and communicating with other people.

"Exams have to be capable of recognising all these talents."

Edge proposes a programme of studies for 14 - 18 year olds where academic and hands-on subjects are combined.

Jan Hodges, Chief Executive of Edge, said:

"The vast majority of young people now stay in education or training until they are 18. We don't need a school-leaving certificate for 16 year olds.

"Instead, we need a general test at 14 to check student progress and help guide subject choices.

"After that, students should combine academic and hands-on subjects and earn credits towards a high school diploma at 18."

Check out newsnight for the debate with Jeremy Paxman

Edge's "Six Steps for Change" call on politicians, practitioners and the public to -

  1. recognise that there are many talents and paths to success
  2. ensure that "learning by doing" is valued equally with academic learning
  3. provide technical, practical and vocational learning as an integral and valued part of every young person's education and as a recognised route to success
  4. from the age of 14, give young people a choice of learning experiences and pathways based on their motivation, talents and career aspirations
  5. ensure that the technical, practical and vocational education and qualifications offered in schools, FE and HE are high quality and recognised by employers
  6. ensure all young people, whatever their different abilities and interests, leave the system with confidence, ambition and the skills to succeed and the skills the economy needs



Notes to editors

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Nicole Gross or Charlie Cox on 0207 960 1540, ngross@edge.co.uk  or ccox@edge.co.uk


Six Steps for Change launch details:

Date:        Monday 17 September

Time:       12:15 - 14:30

Location:   Cholmondeley Room and Terrace at the House of Lords

RSVP:   To attend the Six Steps for Change launch, please email ccox@edge.co.uk


About the Edge Foundation

The Edge Foundation is an independent education charity. It is dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning.  All young people should have the opportunity to achieve their potential and the UK's future workforce needs to be equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern, global economy.  Edge believes that "learning by doing" should be valued equally with academic learning and that all learners should experience a mix of both.  There are many paths to success.  To find out more, visit www.edge.co.uk

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