Lack of technical education in schools – our Principal’s view on Lord Baker’s article
Last week Lord Kenneth Baker wrote for The Telegraph stating that ‘All secondary schools must prepare young people for the future, not the past; better technical education is the key’. This was in response to Nicky Morgan, The Education Secretary, and her aim for all schools to become academies by 2022.
Lord Kenneth Baker, Secretary of State for Education and Science in the 1980’s, introduced City Technology Colleges, the first schools to be run independently and away from local education authorities. In his article, he discusses the disadvantages of the Government education reforms, saying that ‘It may well take somewhere longer than 6 years’ to meet the target, due to the sheer amount of bodies needed to support this change.
The government plans stress the importance of having at least 7 GCSE levels, including English, Maths, Science, a language and History or Geography. Lord Baker then asks ‘What has happened to technical subjects?’. He highlights the importance of learning computing, design and technology in this current digital age, as technical education for the under 16’s ‘is being squeezed out of this country’.
Bob Harrison, Principal and Chief Executive of Bucks UTC writes ‘Lord Baker’s article hits the spot. This is an age where the academic success of schools is increasingly monitored. Where is the thought for the learning style of the students?’ ‘Schools are fundamentally held to account for their academic outcomes only, but the need for applied, technical learning has never been greater. When I talk to employers, attitude, aptitude and skills for work is what they ask for, not necessarily academic qualifications.
‘The quality of support and provision for vocational learning is vital, some students do much better in an environment focused on employment options, NOT just focused on academic achievement. UTCs provide that opportunity with excellent outcomes for all students, regardless of academic ability. They are ready for work and training which is what the employers want.
‘The digital revolution needs students to be work-ready’ Lord Baker states. University Technical Colleges are the way forward, with 38 currently open in the country and ‘we need more’. UTCs allow students to gain skills such as problem-solving, decision-making and critical thinking, with the target that when they leave, none will join the unemployed. Last July, 99.5 per cent of 16-year-old student leavers and 97.5 per cent of 18-year-olds met that target.
You can click here to read Lord Baker’s article in full. For more information on how we get our students ready for the world of work, you can come and visit us at our Open Evening on the 12th May at 16:30. Book your place now!