Written by IOE Events
Tuesday saw the second of our ‘What if…’ events, this time asking What if… we really wanted to overcome the academic-vocational divide?. Our speakers were Sir Michael Wilshaw, Mary Curnock Cook, Tony Little and Professor Alison Fuller.
Vocational education suffers from its second class status – variously seen as a ‘consolation prize’ and ‘for other people’s
children’. It deserves better – for its own sake and for the sake of social justice, but also, as our speakers noted, for the sake of our economy. As Tony Little remarked, ‘we’re preparing our army for the last war’ – the economy and labour market are changing fast, and young people need a broader education. As evidenced by November’s Budget and Industrial Strategy, the government itself seems to have woken from its slumber on skills, and vocational education’s time has come (again). We have been here before, of course, so how can things be different this time around?