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Government and Education

February 3, 2021 11:33 AM

p7cp (Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash)Does it fill you with dread when you hear those two words in the same sentence? Wouldn't it make more sense if it was 'Teachers and Education'? One thing is for certain education could be made more flexible and focussed if teachers didn't have to spend as much time on administration as on teaching.

It has been obvious for many years that designing an education route map that leads to university is likely to see a falling away of half the children on the journey as it becomes ever increasingly irrelevant. Businesses have been crying out for skilled recruits - and the skills are not necessarily overly complex. But don't worry as …….. the Government has announced "huge reforms" to post-16 education with the release of the Skills for Jobs white paper that aims to provide people with the skills that employers want in order to secure work.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will allow people to retrain later in life at an A-Level or equivalent qualification if they don't already have one in various sectors including engineering, health and accountancy.

The Government's Skills Bootcamps will offer short 12-16 week courses that, again, offer people the chance to gain industry-specific skills that employers are looking for when considering whether a candidate is right.

Apparently, measures that have been put in place aim to dispel the myth that University is the only way that a person can achieve a top-quality education and a job as a result.

The measures include:

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

"Our reforms to post-16 education will focus on the skills people and business need for our economy to grow. As we recover from the pandemic, our Lifetime Skills Guarantee will ensure everyone has the confidence and opportunity to gain the skills they need to progress at any stage of their lives.

"These reforms are at the heart of our plans to build back better, ensuring all technical education and training is based on what employers want and need, whilst providing individuals with the training they need to get a well-paid and secure job, no matter where they live, and in the sectors that are critical to our future economic success."

Missing the Point

Reforming post-16 education is fine but what about the preceding years? Isn't it time we accepted that schooling is not delivering a finished product for the non-university bound 50% and that, just maybe, 50% of students going to University is too high anyway. Quality not quantity. Perhaps if we called it training and not education for 'career' students.

Couldn't we create a fork in the education road at say the age of 14? One route leading to university and the other to a career. It is almost a pity that Suffolk County Council decided to get rid of the LibDem supported middle schools as this would have been an ideal time to make the choice which route each child should embark on.

I would like to see a panel of teachers and business leaders thrash out the issue and come up with a strategy for the Government to adopt but that seems like wishful thinking with this administration.