Budget 2015 - Towards a joined up system?

Thursday 9th July 2015

This for me, is a mercifully short blog and semi political one. I don't tend to go down the route of politics very often as my overarching feeling is that education should not be at the whim of a government change every few years but the budget yesterday got me thinking...

I've long been of the personal view that setting targets for the number of people who go to university is a mistake. University, for some, can be a great eye opener and change lives massively, for others it's a waste of time for a variety of reasons. I've been supportive of apprenticeships since they came back into vogue a few years back and I honestly believe a good apprenticeship can be just as life changing as university.

Yesterday the budget did two things of note:-

1) Scrapping of maintenance grants
2) Introducing the apprenticeship levy on businesses

So the majority of young people will be saddled with even more debt if they go down the academic route. However, apprenticeships can lead to university degrees which will be mainly funded by business. A sneaky way of getting business to pay for HE/FE and cut government costs? A way of channelling more young people into apprenticeships and challenging the 'Apprenticeships are great but not for my child' view of parents?

Either way it signals a major change for schools!

The important message we need to get to the Government

1) We need to build capacity for the new model of careers learning within schools so that they can communicate and facilitate this change. it's about cross curricular understanding of how subject knowledge is linked to the working world. Teach First is doing a little towards this in their foray into training middle leaders of careers learning

2) We need to stop ranking schools on how many pupils get into Russell Group universities or even university in general. The question we need to address is are they making progress towards sustained destinations.

The important message we need to get to teachers

Even in the last 3, 5 or 10 years, things have changed enormously, students now need to have a clearer understanding of the working world - teachers need to access the support available in order to bring employer input into the classroom. That may mean a trip or an employer talk or visit or simply using some of the excellent resources available which have been produced in association with companies which address your curriculum planning needs.

You know you will be tweaking your lessons over the holidays. Have a look at my Pinterest board, Supporting Subject Teachers to see if there are any resources you could use next year. Or you might be one of the great teachers who is already doing this and have resources that are not on my supporting teachers board. If so, please Tweet, Facebook or email me the link so I can pass it on to others

There, I said it would be short! For me that is!