News archive 2010
Expert heads vocational review09 Sep 2010, PR 189/10
Education Secretary Michael Gove today announced a major independent review of vocational education for 14- to 19-year-olds, to be led by Alison Wolf, Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management, Department of Management, King’s College London.
Mr Gove said that for too long vocational qualifications had not been properly valued and that a gap had been left in the country’s skills base as a result.
Professor Wolf will look at the organisation of vocational education and its responsiveness to a changing labour market, and will consider ways to increase incentives for young people to participate. The review will also take explicit account of good practice in a selection of developed economies.
Professor Wolf will examine:
- institutional arrangements
- funding mechanisms including arrangements for who bears the cost of qualifications
- progression from vocational education to work, higher education and higher level training
- the role of the third sector, private providers, employers and awarding bodies.
She is due to submit a final report in spring 2011, which will include recommendations on how vocational education can be improved.
Michael Gove, who announced the review in a speech to the independent education foundation Edge today, said: 'For many years our education system has failed properly to value practical education, choosing to give far greater emphasis to purely academic achievements. This has left a gap in the country’s skills base and, as a result, a shortage of appropriately trained and educated young people to fulfil the needs of our employers. To help support our economic recovery, we need to ensure this position does not continue and that in future we are able to meet the needs of our labour market.'
'To enable us to achieve this long-term aim, we are currently developing a new approach to qualifications, considering all routes which are available to young people, to ensure the qualifications they study for are rigorous, relevant and bear comparison with the best in the world.'
Professor Wolf is highly experienced in this field and has all the credentials required to lead this review.
Professor Wolf said, 'Our current arrangements for 14-19 education are highly bureaucratic and inflexible. They also make it very difficult to encourage excellence in anything which is not conventionally academic: writing about people doing things gets rewarded more than actually doing them.
'Rigid systems are particularly undesirable at a time when the labour market and the economy are in a state of constant change. We need to make it possible for vocational education, and educators, to respond easily to the real requirements of the labour market. I hope this review will identify principles and institutions which promote this and help all young people to progress in the world of work, throughout their lives.'
Lord Baker, the Chairman of Edge, said: ' We welcome this review; it is high time that we are able to ensure that all young people have both choice and quality in their education allowing them to pursue their own individual path to success. This start must include high level vocational courses, ones that are taught to high standards in high class institutions. One such example is the University Technical Colleges which will recruit young people at 14 and allow them to study a highly regarded, technically-oriented course in a specialist college. We look forward to seeing the results of the review and playing our part in changing the educational landscape for the better.'
Professor Wolf will conduct a public call for evidence, which will be made by the end of September.
Notes to editors
Department for Education Press release
1. Professor Wolf is the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London and specialises in the relationship between education and the labour market. She has a particular interest in training and skills policy, and universities. She has been a specialist adviser to the House of Commons select committee on education and skills; is the Council Member for the UK on the Council of the United Nations University; writes widely for the national press and is a presenter for Analysis on BBC Radio 4.
2. Edge is an independent education foundation, dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning. Its chairman is Lord Baker, who held a number of senior positions in Margaret Thatcher’s Government, including Secretary of State for Education and Science when he introduced the National Curriculum, Tests, City Technology Colleges and Grant Maintained Schools. He became a member of the House of Lords in 1997. As co-founder of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, Lord Baker is leading the introduction of University Technical Colleges. He firmly believes that it is vital for our young people and our economy that students should have access to high-quality education combining academic, practical and vocational learning.
3. Read the Written Ministerial Statement about the Wolf Review on the Department’s website.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
Alexandra Bevis, Public Relations Officer, King's College London
Tel: 020 7848 3238
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