Lord Baker: vital practical skills missing from schools

The Telegraph is reporting warnings from former education secretary Lord Baker that technical subjects are being “squeezed out” of schools leaving many young people without the practical skills necessary for employment…

Lord Baker said that too many youngsters are “disengaged” and “locked into schools” that aren’t teaching them the skills relevant to their outside lives.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the peer – who introduced the national curriculum in the 1980s – said it was “a mistake” to ignore practical subjects in favour of academic disciplines as companies are struggling to employ skilled people from Britain.

Current estimates suggest that, by 2020, around 1.3 million scientists, engineers and technicians will be needed in Britain.

However, Lord Baker said that changes made by Michael Gove, the former Education Secretary, have resulted in much less emphasis on technical education below the age of 16, leaving British youngsters at risk of falling behind peers abroad.

“Poor quality subjects were dropped from the curriculum,” he explained, “but the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater; there were many good subjects that shouldn’t have disappeared…”

Commenting ahead of the opening of Bromley College’s new student-led restaurant, BR6, today, Lord Baker highlighted the important role of Career Colleges and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) in providing hands-on vocational education for 14 to 19 year-olds…


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Categories: Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Lord Baker is sensible enough to admit that his own party (namely Gove but also Morgan) are to blame for this. He’s right to

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is the result of various myopic Secretary of States for Education imposing their personal schooling preference on all

  3. Janet2

    Lord Baker is right that technical education has been sidelined.  And he’s right this is particularly the fault of Gove.  Lord Baker introduced the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) in the eighties.  This was hugely successful in raising the profile of work-related education, eg careers educ and guidance (CEG), Industry Days, in all schools.

    But this initiative has withered away.  Not all schools offer work experience for 15 year-olds, for example (Gove removed that requirement).  And CEG in most schools is now abysmal.

    But UTCs aren’t the answer.  They take children from other schools at 14 – this risks schools using them as a dumping ground for pupils they want to get rid of.  One UTC (Hackney) has closed already for lack of numbers.

    What’s needed is a reintroduction of an updated TVEI scheme across the board.

  4. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove v.important to note studs not just being taught to wait tables. Lots of maths, literacy and science in rest management!

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