Looks like I’ve missed the boat in signing up for an NVQ in Football League Table Analysis. I was just about to nip down to the local college of further education to sign up when the news came through that the Government is axing or ‘downgrading’ a whole list of vocational courses. Secretary of State Michael Gove has announced that he is unhappy that some schools seem to be improving their standing in the GCSE league tables by including certain vocational qualifications and treating them as equivalent to a GCSE or four.
The media have been quick to plaster the front pages and bombard the airwaves with tales of thousands of courses in the likes of fish care and nail technology. Mention of these two courses is surprising given the prices people will pay for koi carp and how many nail boutiques there are on the average high street but I understand the concern.
However, there are plenty of young people who have benefited from studying vocational courses who might otherwise have struggled with the more traditional academic subjects. These courses have often been a valued route into a career or higher education. One of my young relatives, who found the traditional academic school route very challenging and is severely dyslexic, thrived on a vocational course which led to a good degree from a highly regarded university and then a career in an important U.K. industry. The initial course she took in animal husbandry is the type of course that is being held up for ridicule in support of the Secretary of State’s decision.
I’ve no problem with a more rigorous scrutiny of the courses offered by schools and how they are validated and accredited. The danger is that we throw the baby out with the bathwater or, as the prospectus might say, the child care course out with studies in centripetal evacuation of h2o from large ceramic containers.
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