We want to equip young people to make hard choices, to be leaders, community focussed, to stand up for what they think is right but also to learn skills like team work, resilience and empathy. To do this, we need a 14-19 phase of education that is coherent, unified and holistic based on a broad and balanced curriculum that makes learning relevant to the work place and real life.
By 2050 we will need more than three million additional skilled workers, but we need a clearer strategy to give individuals the skills they need for the real world. It’s not about ripping our education system up and starting again, or about changing institutions; we need to collectively plan for this change over decades rather than the lifetime of a single parliament or ministerial post. To do this, we advocate for a broad and balanced curriculum which makes learning relevant to the work place and equips young people for their working and broader lives. This should be supported by eight key strands:
- Creating a broad, balanced and relevant 14-19 curriculum that culminates in a holistic baccalaureate combining academic, technical and creative qualifications, an extended project and personal development
- Making the curriculum relevant to real life skills and the workplace by putting it into context through e.g cross-curricular project based learning with employer involvement.
- Removing the cliff edge at 16, allowing young people to sit their GCSEs based on stage rather than age, with more personalised opportunities for additional stretch or support.
- Focusing apprenticeships on young people for example, by echoing the Scottish foundation apprenticeships model and providing high quality pre-apprenticeship opportunities and Young Apprenticeships from 14.
- Integrating meaningful employer engagement throughout. Including a properly funded intensive preparation year at age 13 and a programme of planned employer interventions across the 14-19 phase
- Giving teachers more support and greater freedom, with more time to plan and collaborate, more training in new teaching approaches and opportunities to work directly with employers, including through externships.
- Supporting more collaboration between educational institutions by establishing an entitlement for every pupil to access a broad range of pathways, and reducing incentives on schools to keep hold of pupils no matter what.
- Creating an accountability system focused on outcomes by placing a detailed set of destination measures at the centre of performance tables at both KS4 and KS5.
Find out more in Our Plan for Schools and 14-19 Education.