New law to stop ‘outdated snobbery’ against apprenticeships in schools

The Independent is reporting that a new law ensuring that state schools promote apprenticeships as much as university education will be introduced this year in a bid to end the “outdated snobbery” against technical education.

Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education will legislate to ensure that technical colleges and companies providing apprenticeships get into schools to give careers advice to pupils.

The new law is designed to end the perception that non-academic routes are “second best”, amid concern within government that some schools are failing to present technical and professional options on an equal footing to university. 

Ministers believe some schools are unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils – effectively creating a two-tier system of careers advice.

A recent study by the Sutton Trust, an education think-tank, found that 65 per cent of teachers would not advise a pupil with the predicted grades for university to pursue an apprenticeship. But Ms Morgan said this reflected an “outdated snobbery” against apprenticeships which should be tackled.

She said: “As part of our commitment to extend opportunity to all young people, we want to level the playing field – making sure they are aware of all the options open to them and are able to make the right choice for them.

“For many young people going to university will be the right choice, and we are committed to continuing to expand access to higher education, but for other young people the technical education provided by apprenticeships will suit them better.

“That’s why state schools, including academies, will be required by law to collaborate with colleges, university technical colleges and other training providers to ensure that young people are aware of all options.”  

The Department for Education is concerned that some schools are blocking further education colleges from speaking to pupils, in order to promote their own sixth forms. Ministers believe that too many teachers are reinforcing the impression that apprenticeships are second best to academic study.

The legislation will mean state schools, including academies, will be required by law to collaborate with colleges, university technical colleges and other training providers to ensure that young people are aware of all options – including degree-level apprenticeships…

More at: State schools must drop ‘outdated snobbery’ against apprenticeships, says Nicky Morgan


It sounds like there are two separate issues tied up here: one an inclination not to recommend vocational routes because they are seen as less good, and the other the issue of trying to keep all sixth former in the school rather than losing them elsewhere.

Are both valid, and what do you think of the idea of legislation here?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. TW

    “ensuring that state schools promote apprenticeships”

    So not for private schools then.  That’ll make sure there’s parity of esteem.


  2. Mixed messages from the Government – league tables list destinations of pupils and Gove et al praised those schools (usually academies) which sent pupils to Russell Group.

  3. Mike Bell Not sure legislation is the answer.  Can imagine schools forced to allow the local FE college on to their premises subtly undermining them by the odd dropped comment here or a snide remark there.  The answer is a properly-funded careers service which has access in law to all schools.

Let us know what you think...