Parents back the baccalaureate, technical degrees and better careers advice

15th October 2014

Over three quarters of parents want young people to get a ‘baccalaureate’ style certificate at 18 summing up their achievements in both academic and practical subjects.

Over three quarters of parents want young people to get a 'baccalaureate' style certificate at 18 summing up their achievements in both academic and practical subjects.

What's more, 70% are in support of Technical Degrees for people who want to combine academic study and 'hands on' work.

These are among the findings from a survey of parents of teenagers commissioned by independent education charity the Edge Foundation to mark their tenth anniversary. The occasion will also be marked by a speech by the American author, philosopher and motor bike mechanic, Matthew B. Crawford.

The data shows there has been some improvement in parents' knowledge of NVQs since 2008, up from 41% to 49% and nearly half of parents now say they have good knowledge of apprenticeships. 

However, overall parents still know more about academic qualifications.

Approaching two thirds of parents think there's too much pressure on young people to go to university which is up from about half in 2008 and less than a quarter of all parents believe their children will only fulfil their potential if they do go. 

"We are encouraged that views are slowly changing around technical, practical and vocational education. Wehope our research provides interesting food for thought for policy-makers as they start to shape their manifestos.  

"Parents are keenly aware of the challenges facing young people today. Blending academic and practical subjects is an attractive option both in school and beyond. That's been Edge's message since we started ten years ago - and parents agree." Jan Hodges, OBE, CEO Edge Foundation

Chairman of the Edge Foundation, Lord Baker said;

"We still see abig barrier to understanding vocational options is the lack of good careers advice. Two thirds of parents rated such advice at their child's school as 'inadequate'. Edge will continue to campaign for all young people to receive independent careers advice, face to face covering all their options."

The survey of 1,000 parents found over half think more practical teaching should be done in schools, with less than one fifth saying that their child likes to learn in a purely academic way. What's more, over 80% feel that team work and problem solving are just as important as academic work - and two thirds believe every young person should study at least one vocational subject at school, with only one in a hundred strongly disagreeing. 

Bestselling author, Matthew B. Crawford will deliver the Edge Annual Lecture on 15th October at Plaisterers Hall, London.In support of Edge's mission to champion technical, practical and vocational learning, Matthew will make the case for working with your hands.

Crawford will argue;

"The trades suffer from low prestige, and I believe this is based on a simple mistake. Because the work is dirty, many people assume it is also stupid. We've developed a dichotomy of knowledge work versus manual work, as though they are two very different things. I'd say that the different kinds of thinking that go on in the various trades can be genuinely impressive, if we stop to notice it."

Other key stats from the research

  • Parents are more supportive of practical learning than they have been in the past and we have seen a 10% increase in the number of parents who feel that vocational learning often leads to a good career (47% in 2008 - 56% in 2014)
  • There is strong support for only people with a teaching qualification being allowed to teach in schools but, at the same time, 50% of parents still express support for bringing non-teachers into the classroom.

 

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