Alice Barnard's letter published in The Guardian 21 February 2017

Your editorial rightly highlights the disparity in status between “academic” and “vocational” education, but fails to recognise that decent GCSE results alone no longer equip our young people with the skills that the 21st-century economy demands. Employers increasingly favour “attitude” over “aptitude” and are looking for the creativity, resilience and workplace skills which creative and technical courses such as design and technology, arts, engineering and computer science offer. Before we start tinkering around the fringes of our education system again, we need to address the inadequacy of our narrow antiquated curriculum and the current Ebacc, which mirrors the suite of subjects taught in 1904. It limits opportunities for all students, not just the low attainers and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The digital revolution is happening now; we need to fundamentally rethink what and how young people learn to meet their aspirations and the needs of the 21st-century economy.

Alice Barnard

CEO, Edge Foundation

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