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Steve Promotes Labour's Tech Bacc

(January 16, 2013)

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Walton MP, Steve Rotheram has branded the Government’s plans for reforms to the Education system as “narrow” and “out of date” and supported Labour’s plans to prioritise vocational education.

 Steve explained, “Michael Gove’s planned changes to the curriculum and exams risk school standards by taking us backward. They are narrow, out of date and would create a two tier system.

“This out of touch Government have failed to recognise and value the subjects which are critical for our future economic competitiveness in the EBACC. Subjects like Computer Science, Design and Technology, Construction and Engineering have been forgotten about by Ministers who are more versed in Latin, Greek and Poetry.

“And it’s not just the Labour Party that are warning the Tories and Lib Dems that these reforms are short-sighted. Business leaders like the CBI say that Gove’s plans “risk repeating the mistakes of the past”, and have called for the Government to pause in their implementation.

“With such a narrow framework, the EBAC fails to nurture creativity through subjects such as art, design, drama and music and instead risks neglecting them. The creative economy was the second fastest growing economy in the 13 years of the Labour Government and Britain led the way in fine Art, Theatre and video animation.

“That’s a legacy I’m proud of, but one that is under threat of we fail to implement an education system that is fit for purpose. Gove’s reforms will great a two tier system that is out dated.

“Instead of trying to recreate an out of date, narrow education system, I am supporting Ed Miliband and Stephen Twigg as Labour continues to develop plans for a rigorous, high quality curriculum and set of exams, that prepares young people for the future and properly teaches and assesses both their skills and knowledge between the ages of 14 and 18.

It’s worth remembering this Government’s record on education and wy the debate is so important:

  • They have cut the funding available for one to one and catch up tuition for 5, 6 and 7 year olds in English and Maths.
  • Already, we are seeing 9,000 fewer primary school pupils – a 40% drop – get access to specialist reading tuition. [http://www.labournorthwest.org.uk/huge-reduction-in-number-of-five-and-six-year-olds-getting-readi]
  • ot enough young people study English and Maths after the age of 16.
  •  We are one of the few developed countries in the world that doesn’t require pupils to study subjects to 18.
  • In Germany and Hong Kong, more than nine-in-10 pupils continue taking maths beyond the age of 16, whereas in England it is only around one fifth.
  • Labour would end this anomaly – we are the only party which says we would ensure that every single pupil, whether they choose an academic or vocational pathway would study English and Maths to the age of 18.

I have long believed that for too long Britain has focused just on the 50% that go to university. Now it is time to focus on the other 50% - the forgotten 50%. That is why I am delighted Labour’s priority is transforming the vocational education that is failing so many of our young people. We will introduce a clear vocational gold standard at 18 – the Technical Baccalaureate.

The next Labour government will reform secondary education to:

  • Offer a clear vocational route to a gold standard qualification at 18 called a Technical Baccalaureate, with high quality courses accredited by employers
  • Insist that all young people study English and Maths to 18, including as a strict condition for the award of Tech Baccs.
  • We will also ensure anyone studying for a Tech Bacc successfully completes a programme of work experience.
  • Transform business engagement in schools, involving them in the accreditation of vocational qualifications.

By prioritising vocational education we will create an education system that is fit for purpose. We will equip all our young people, no matter their ability or background, with the skills needed to leave school with the chance to forge a career in a specific or even a variety of industries and sectors. At a time when we must reshape our economy to make it more robust, an education system that supports jobs and growth, is essential. 

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