Higher Education’s Hindrance of Schools and Colleges.

How many of the problems currently being experienced in British education should be blamed on the institutions within the higher education sector? They, after all, exercise a major influence on setting the agenda for the various examining bodies. Does this top-down approach cause the great loss of potential students? Even as the implications of the demographic decline materialise many institutions admissions tutors still worship at the GCE A level altar, only accepting novitiates who have pursued a content-led course. A number of institutions still view non-standard entry gates with suspicion, especially prospective students with vocational qualifications, such as National Awards

Post-16 Science in Further Education

Dick Evans, Cornwall College and chair of the post 16 ASE Committee.. The teaching of science figures significantly in the further education sector (FE), both as a single discipline and a subject servicing vocational or pre-vocational courses. For convenience, the courses in a typical FE college can be mapped into three basic course pathways namely: academic/general vocational. pre-vocational. This approach is somewhat simplistic, as increasingly students will pursue mixed-economy courses, that is courses, modules or parts of courses from more than one of these pathways. Provision covers a wide spectrum with courses possessing various levels and unfortunately at present having


The Foundation held a Lecture and Dinner Discussion on the subject “Post-16 Education: Supplying the Needs of Engineering in Britain” at the Royal Society on 9 October 1991. Lord Butterworth CBE chaired the evening and the speakers were Professor Ian Nussey OBE FEng, IBM United Kingdom Limited; Dr Dick Evans, Principal, Stockport College of Further Education; and Dr Derek Roberts CBE FEng FRS, Provost, University College, London. Summary: Both speakers examined the present state of engineering education, its good and bad features, and made proposals which, they believed, would enhance Britain’s ability to meet the challenges that faced the country.

A Potent Mixture

Carefully managed ‘mixed economy’ institutions offer both potential and challenge, says Richard Evans. First of all, what do I mean by a mixed economy college? It is an institution that is committed to an open access philosophy offering a very wide range and comprehensive provision spanning adult basic, adult education, further and higher education. Programmes of adult education set alongside A Levels, NVQ and GNVQ awards, HNCs, HNDs, degrees, postgraduate and professional awards. This provision attracts and serves local, regional and national participation. The mixed economy college is one constituent of the FE sector. The sector is very diverse and

The Vocational Qualification Gap

This September sees the introduction in the UK of a new qualification in science for the over-16 age group. The General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) ate an attempt to provide a bridge between the current academic and vocational curriculum frameworks by providing general certification in a way that keeps the door open to direct employment. A- and AS-levels or the more specific and well established National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). The new qualifications were first proposed for introduction in England and Wales in the May 1991 Government White Paper Education and Training for the 21st Century. (The Scottish education system has

Viewpoint – Graduate Nation.

A recent Government White Paper proposed the introduction of General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) to rationalize the British education system. Under this scheme, those who left school at 16 would be able to enter higher education on the strength of vocational qualifications. Dick Evans explains the workings of this radical new approach and argues that such a system will give Britain’s workforce the flexibility necessary to maintain the nation’s position in an increasingly competitive world. At last this country has realized that it must invest in post-16 education and training, not only for its existing workforce but for that of

Further and Vocational Education

In Further and Higher Education there are major concerns about recruitment, retention, achievement and ultimate destination of students studying engineering and technology. Colleges and universities continue to experience difficulties in realising their student target numbers and there are concerns about the quality of the students being accepted onto the programmes of study at all levels within the two sectors. Skills/competence/knowledge/understanding gaps are now manifest across the spectrum of employment, whether it be at craft, technician or professional level. One major difficulty the FE colleges experience is obtaining valid, reliable and up-to-date statistical information about the students studying engineering across the

Participation in Science – Could This be a Problem? – VIEWPOINT

Following a recent seminar on post-16 science, I reflected on the age-old issue of why science and technology do not attract more students into the post-16 phase. It has been evident since the Great Exhibition of 1851 that the culture in this country is hostile to science, engineering and technology. Could it be that some of the problems can be placed at the door of the science teaching community? I ask this question to provoke debate! Increasingly students choose a mixed economy of A levels and whereas 20-30 years ago students would take combinations of the separate sciences with applied

Don’t Catch the Drift

Colleges must not sacrifice their Further Education (FE) work in an effort to make themselves like universities, says Dick Evans Suddenly, politicians are talking about the dangers of academic drift and the shift from vocationalism without realising their policies are driving these trends, Do they really understand the meaning of these terms and, more importantly, the dangers that they will bring? First, consider “academic drift”. Following the announcement that the Government wants one in three young people in higher education by the year 2000, many further education colleges felt they should play their part in realising this target. No real


This paper was sent to the Editor by Dr Richard Evans, Principal of Stockport College of Further and Higher Education. He addressed the Foundation on the subject “Post-Sixteen Education – Supplying the Needs of Engineering in Britain” on 9 October 1991, when other speakers were Professor Ian Nussey and Dr Derek Roberts. Dr Richard Evans Summary by the editor: In a provocative article, Dr Evans posed a number of questions to which answers were needed in order to develop an overall, coherent, long-term strategic policy for physics education and the part that higher education institutions must play. Among other topics,