Edge Foundation – response to Labour’s ‘Technical Degrees’

9th July 2014

The Edge Foundation very much welcomes the proposals made by the Labour party today, regarding the introduction of 'Technical Degrees'.

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Lord Baker welcomes the Adonis Review

3rd July 2014

In a report for the Labour Party, Lord Adonis has called for more emphasis on technical and vocational education, particularly in the so-called STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths

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House of Commons' News

  • Recently appointed junior education minister, Sam Gyimah MP has given his backing to work-related learning in helping young people to be better prepared for employment. Speaking at Education Questions yesterday (Monday, July 21, 2014), he added they “develop the skills that employers say are important".
    See Hansard link
  • MPs debated MPs yesterday debated technical and vocational education, when the impact of UTCs and Studio Schools formed a large part of the debate. Edge wishes to thank Stephen Twigg MP for his kind recognition of our role in bringing a “cultural change in our attitudes to vocational education”.
    See Hansard transcript
  • David Cameron spoke of his pride in leading the Government’s UTC programme during PMQs yesterday (18th June). Responding to a question from Watford’s MP, Richard Harrington, the prime minister said: “I think that they (UTCs) represent the filling in of one of the missing links in our education system that was left after the second world war, when ironically we helped the Germans establish good technical schools but did not put them in place here in the United Kingdom. I am very proud to be leading a Government who are putting that right.”
    See Hansard link
  • During Education Questions, Graham Stuart MP, chairman of the Education Committee, cited Edge Foundation evidence to Ministers to argue that ‘more needs to be done to promote understanding of the additional rigour that has been brought to vocational qualifications in general, and to apprenticeships in particular.’ Responding, Matthew Hancock, the Skills Minister said it was also show that the technical and vocational route is valued, particularly by employers ‘in order to change this perceptions gap’.
    See Hansard link
  • There was further support for UTCs from the Prime Minister in his response to Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry (PMQs, February 5th, 2014). The PM said they allowed ‘tens of thousands of young people to have the chance of a good education, a good future, and the chance to get a job and get involved in our modern economy. UTCs are well placed to help thousands of students in that way.’
    See Hansard link

House of Lords' News

  • Education minister Lord Nash had said revised guidance on careers advice and guidance clearly states that schools should act impartially and recognise that some students would be better suited to educational training beyond schools and that they should give other providers the opportunity to inform pupils about the offer. He was responding to a question asking whether the Government have any plans to change the current system of careers advice for young people in schools.
    See Handard link for the full debate
  • Introducing a debate on social mobility, Minister Lord Nash said, to compete in a global market ‘we need to see practical, technical and vocational training integrated and as rigorous as academic learning’.
    See Hansard link
  • Peers have debated the approach taken by Germany and Austria in promoting vocational education, and what lessons could be drawn for the United Kingdom and UK competitiveness. Baroness Neville-Rolfe said the German system produced ‘better educational outcomes and a larger, better pool of talent that can be apprenticed to German business, which is very actively involved.’ In response, the Minister, Lord Nash cited UTCs and studio schools ‘of which we have now approved almost 100, are modelled closely on the success of German technical schools, as are our higher apprenticeships.’
    See Hansard link
  • Speaking during a debate on the contribution of Education to Economic Growth, Lord Baker discusses the role of UTCs in tackling the skills gap. He also quoted a letter from a pupil at the Central Bedfordshire UTC who wrote: “after (underachieving) failing my first year at a standard sixth form, I made the best decision of my life and started fresh at UTC”.
    See Hansard link
  • A short debate in the House of Lords moved by Baroness Wilcox to discuss "increasing the take-up of apprenticeships among young people" included support for UTCS and practical and technical education from the Bishop of Derby, Lord Young of Norwood Green, the shadow minister and Viscount Younger of Leckie, the Minister.
    See Hansard link