Schools axe ‘valuable’ vocational training courses

Schools are axing practical training courses despite recognition by teachers of their value to pupils, according to research that revealed 60% of schools are either planning to cut the provision of vocational qualifications, or have already done so. This is from the Guardian…

This is despite 85% of senior teachers agreeing that vocational qualifications are valuable for their students.

In January last year, the education secretary, Michael Gove, ordered 96% of GCSE-equivalent vocational qualifications to be stripped from school league tables, following recommendations made in the Wolf report.

Research supported by the Edge Foundation, an independent education charity, and carried out by the thinktank IPPR, found 66% of senior teachers whose schools were cutting vocational provisions admitted the decision had been taken as a result of the changes to the performance tables. Some 15% said the reason for reducing the number of vocational courses was that they did not believe the courses were valuable.

By contrast, four in five (79%) of senior teachers interviewed agreed vocational qualifications provided a firm foundation for school-leavers to get jobs.

More than two-thirds (69%) agreed vocational qualifications were useful not only for those leaving school aged 16 but “offer a strong foundation for further study or training”.

Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, said: “We want high quality vocational qualifications to achieve parity alongside other educational routes for young people.

“Our concern is that in attempting to guarantee quality the government has used a sledgehammer to crack the nut.

“Schools are now being forced to drop valuable technical, practical and work-related courses or risk getting no credit for the provision.”

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