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The future of technical and professional education: joining up the dots

By Tami McCrone

The Learning and Skills Research Network (LSRN) workshop held last week on the future of technical and professional education was as current, relevant and thought-provoking as ever. Continue reading


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Could it be that disengagement leads to poor skills?

By Tami McCrone

Last Thursday I attended two events in London: a Demos seminar reporting on ways to re-engage disengaged young people pre-16 years old, and an OECD seminar ‘Building skills for all – a review of England’ which offered policy insights from the survey of adult skills.
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Parents are in the dark about careers enlightenment for their children

By Tami McCrone

What did your child do at school today? An age old question that any parent will tell you is difficult to get an answer to at the best of times. In my house, I might achieve a grunt of ‘maths’ from my son, and perhaps a bit more of a detailed explanation of the latest graphics project from my daughter. But I don’t think any of my children ever came home and told me ‘we did careers education today mum and I’m interested in finding out more about working in business because that’s where my skills and interests lie!’
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Photocopying and making tea: How important is work experience?

By Anneka Dawson

What do stacking bookshelves for a bookshop and doing photocopying for an insurance company have in common? They were activities I completed for work experience weeks while I was at school that did very little to prepare me for the world of work.

The coalition government made the decision to end compulsory work experience in 2012, a decision which some are challenging. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) workforce survey found that 76 per cent of 2,885 companies felt that a lack of work experience was one of the main reasons that young people were not ready for the workplace. This has led the BCC to call for a return to compulsory work experience. But are schools still using work experience placements, and how useful is work experience anyway? Continue reading


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‘Technical’, ‘vocational’, ‘professional’ education: what’s in a name?

By Tami McCrone

NFER’s recent review of technical education for the Association of Colleges found that there is no universal understanding of what is meant by vocational and technical education. Despite that difficulty, it is possible to isolate the constituent parts of effective vocational teaching and learning, but not for effective technical education.

So what exactly are vocational and technical courses? Continue reading


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Vocational education – a desirable choice?

By Sarah Lynch

The demands from the business world could not be clearer. Employers increasingly want young recruits who have the communication, team-working and practical skills underpinned by appropriate standards of literacy and numeracy needed to thrive in the workplace. Continue reading


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The truth about the Phonics Screening Check

By Matt Walker

Last week the Department for Education (DfE) published the final report from NFER’s three-year evaluation into the impact of the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). The evaluation explored schools’ phonics teaching practices and sought to establish whether there is any evidence that the introduction of the check has had an impact on the standard of reading and writing. Continue reading