A-levels are not the only post-16 option, says Edge

A report by researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Institute of Education (CLS), published today (22 August 2017), concludes that young people who take academic GCSE subjects, are more likely to stay on at A-level. They suggest that girls who take ‘applied’ subjects, such as health and social care, at GCSE may be facing educational disadvantage as a result.

The data is taken from Next Steps, a study of 16,000 people born in England in 1989-1990, and from the National Pupil Database. Edge commented:

‘This research is predicated on the assumption that the only measure of success for young people post-16 is whether they study A-levels and go to university. Students taking the EBacc suite of subjects - almost identical to the curriculum created in the 1900s – may be more likely to take A-levels, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be equipped with the skills our 21st century digital economy demands.

‘As automation and artificial intelligence becomes more widespread in the workplace, it will be the skills of ‘working class girls taking subjects such as health and social care’ which will be in demand and of premium value.’

Lucy Ackland, pictured, ignored advice given to her and left school at 16 to do an apprenticeship with global engineering company Renishaw. She got a first class engineering honours degree in 2012, won the Women’s Engineering Society Prize in 2014 and currently manages the Special Projects Team at Renishaw.

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