The education charity Edge has launched Six Steps for Change, a campaign aimed at transforming attitudes to vocational learning.
Lord Baker of Dorking, chair of the Edge Foundation, said this week that “learning by doing” must be part of every young person’s education.
Alongside the launch of Six Steps for Change – which takes the form of a policy statement – Edge is proposing a programme of studies for 14 to 18-year-olds where academic and hands-on subjects are combined.
Lord Baker said: “It’s vital that schools and colleges provide education which develops practical skills and personal qualities as well as subject knowledge. This has to include opportunities to learn by doing. This isn’t about the skills needed for a particular job. It’s about understanding how maths and English – and many other school subjects – are used at work and in adult life.
“And not just that: it’s also about teamwork, solving problems and communicating with other people. Exams have to be capable of recognising all these talents.”
Jan Hodges, chief executive of Edge, said: “The vast majority of young people now stay in education or training until they are 18. We don’t need a school-leaving certificate for 16-year-olds.
“Instead, we need a general test at 14 to check student progress and help guide subject choices. After that, students should combine academic and hands-on subjects and earn credits towards a high school diploma at 18.”
Edge’s “Six Steps for Change” was launched on Monday (September 17) at the House of Lords.
Among the six steps, it calls for politicians and the profession to “ensure that ‘learning by doing’ is valued equally with academic learning” and “from the age of 14, give young people a choice of learning experiences and pathways based on their motivation, talents and career aspirations”.