Osfted Chief Inspector calls for improved vocational provision in schools

19th January 2016

There are a number of aspects of the keynote speech given by Sir Michael Wilshaw on his 'Ambitions for English Education' (Monday 18 January 2016) that Edge is pleased to support.

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A letter to the editor - The Ebacc

6th January 2016

David Harbourne, Edge's acting chief executive today adds his name to a number of signatories to a letter published in The Times today (Wednesday, January 6th, 2016) that express 'deep concern' by the Government's proposals to set a 90 per cent target of pupils taking GCSE subjects.

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House of Commons' News

  • Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of the Government’s 90 per cent EBacc proposals on teaching creative arts, Catherine McKinnell MP put a question that Edge would dearly loved to have asked ourselves. A member of the Education Committee, she asked “Why would the Government want to limit opportunities to study subjects such as design and technology? Last week, we took part in the EBacc Twitter debate hosted by the House of Commons official Twitter account, remarking that “D&T teaches young people how things are designed, developed, made and improved”.
    For details of the full Westminster debate, see this link.
  • On Tuesday (15 March 2016), MPs debated the importance of engineering skills and design and technology education in the school curriculum. Michelle Donelan MP, (Conservative, Chippenham) secured the debate in which she made the case for bolstering the Design and Technology GCSE by its inclusion in the EBacc. Nic Dakin MP, the shadow minister quoted from Edge’s response to the consultation paper, where we argue that the 90 per cent target will ‘reduce the uptake of technical and creative subjects and limit choices open to students and their parents. It could exacerbate the country's growing skills gap, because fewer students will achieve passes in technical and creative subjects linked to the needs of the economy.' He added that he hoped ‘clarion call’ would prove ‘wrong’.
    For details of the full Westminster Hall debate, see this link.
  • Edge has welcomed the Prime Minister’s endorsement of young people ‘learning while earning’. Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday 10 February 2016), David Cameron informed MPs that ‘we need to go on to explain that if someone becomes an apprentice, that does not rule out doing a degree or degree-level qualification later on during their apprenticeship. The option of earning and learning is stronger in Britain today than it has ever been.’
    See Hansard link for the full report on Prime Minister’s Questions

House of Lords' News

  • Peers have debated the need for a 'balanced and rounded education in schools’ and the impact of the English baccalaureate on this. During it, Lord Aberdere asked if Ministers were aware of the concerns raised by Edge.
    See Hansard link to read the Grand Committee debate
  • Baroness Neville–Rolfe, a Government Minister in the House of Lords has confirmed the earnings potential of apprentices. In a written answer, the Minister replies that “we know that apprenticeships have long-run productivity and wage benefits for apprentices and the wider economy, which are not included in the OBR’s modelling. On average, an apprenticeship increases an individual’s earnings by 11-16% within three to five years.”
    See the Hansard link for the full reply
  • During a debate on the Enterprise Bill (Monday, October 12, 2105) Lord Baker spoke of the need to ‘create new pathways to success.’ He said: “We have to get it across to many young people that an apprenticeship is not a second-class pathway to success. It can, in fact, be infinitely better than a university degree, because the English education system is now cursed by only one target: three A-levels and a university. That has resulted in a very large increase in graduate unemployment at the moment.”
    See Hansard link for details of the full debate
  • The House of Lords recently debated the government’s plans for expanding the apprenticeship programme for 16 to 18 year-olds.
    See Hansard link