Head teachers hit out at post-16 reform plans

THE LEADER of a head teachers’ union has questioned moves to make pupils who fail to get a good pass in GCSE English and maths continue with the subject until they are 18.

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the plan this week in a Ministerial statement which also include proposals to shake up the way vocational education for post-16 students is funded.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, has warned, however, that getting pupils to repeatedly sit exams is not the answer.

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He said: “If something wasn’t working for them in the previous course of study it would better by far to take advantage of the raising of the participation age to plan a range of courses that arrive at the same point using different timings and methods. One standard reached via multiple routes; rather than double standards with a single force-fitted approach.”

He also questioned the Government’s claim that many young people are studying worthless vocational qualifications.

Mr Gove quoted Professor Alison Wolf’s review that as many as 350,000 people are on courses which do not benefit them. He also said that because schools and colleges were funded by qualification it encouraged education providers to get pupils sitting easier courses and discouraged them from activity that does not lead to qualifications, such as work experience.

But Mr Hobby said: “Some vocational qualifications can indeed be unhelpful; but try telling a doctor or engineer that all vocational study is worthless.”