The TechBacc – What Chance of Success?

In this article, Dr Dick Evans, technical education specialist, discusses proposals for the TechBacc and considers its chances of success when previous attempts to gain parity of esteem with ‘A’ levels for vocational qualifications have foundered. The latest attempt to introduce a vocational and occupational qualification, the Technical Baccalaureate (TechBacc), has been announced to begin in September 2014 and results will be reported in the performance tables in 2017. As usual the initiative is launched with much political hype and well-worn rhetoric – namely it will be of high quality, provide an alternative choice, possess parity of esteem with ‘A’

The Gold Standard

‘A’ levels are the best benchmark for measuring the academically gifted, but according to Dr Dick Evans, successive Governments have failed to enable them to have a more universal application. The rejection of the Tomlinson main proposal to develop an over arching diploma rekindled the whole sorry saga of previous reviews and possible reforms of the A level system. GCE ‘A’ levels have dominated and largely determined the structure of post-16 curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for over half a century since their introduction in 1951 when they replaced Higher School Certificates. Since their creation A levels have

Foundation Degrees Revisited

In this article Dick Evans considers the progress of the Foundation Degree (FD) prototypes particularly in subjects that traditionally have experienced difficulties in recruiting and have serious skill shortages in the work place e.g. science, engineering and construction. Analysis of the existing prototypes of the FDs provides an interesting insight into how providers are developing FDs. Many of the prototypes are in business; commerce, media and IT related subjects. The first tranche of prototypes technically finish this year and presumably after an evaluation will be introduced across universities and colleges this autumn. The government has set a target that 50%

‘A’ Levels and The Baccalaureat

How would a broader based curriculum along international lines improve the ‘gold standard’- Dr Dick Evans investigates. Following the fiasco of the introduction of Curriculum 2000 (C2k) the Secretary of State has suggested the possible development and introduction of a baccalaureat type examination to replace the GCE ‘A’ level. The supposed gold standard protected and cherished by successive governments has suddenly lost its lustre as a result of this year’s problems with the GCE ‘A’ level results. The current arrangements for post-16 qualifications and the new national qualifications framework introduced in 2000 followed largely from the major review carried out

The Challenges of The New Deal – 18 to 24 Element

The Government, before they were elected, stated clearly that one of their flagships was The New Deal (ND) for young people and long-term unemployed people. Now they are elected, the initiative is very live and real. The New Deal will have major implications for these individuals but also for the partners who will be needed to make it a success and colleges of further education are most certainly going to be a major player in the delivery of this initiative. So what is The New Deal? The basic proposals are as follows: New Deal: will help young people aged 18-24

The Value of Higher National Certificates

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is an incredibly valuable award for people who are operating as technicians within industry. It was, and continues to be, an important award, particularly in the areas of science and science-related disciplines. It has always been very greatly valued by employers who have sponsored their employees to gain this qualification, possibly as an award in itself or in terms of progression on to a part-time degree orformembership of a professional body. However, over the past few years, colleges have witnessed dramatic declines in the enrolment of students on HNC awards, following the change of recruiting

Working Away

Dick Evans, Principal of Stockport College of F&HE, considers Curriculum 2000, NVQs and realistic working , environments (RWEs). The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) are currently preparing the specifications for the qualifications and awards that will attach to the new proposed national curriculum framework. This is increasingly being referred to as Curriculum 2000 (C2k). The framework will be established from September 2000 and one of the new pieces of jargon is associated with the word ‘specifications’, previously known as syllabuses. ‘Specifications’ will recognise the necessary knowledge, skills, understanding and competence that will be assessed for the purpose of awarding a

Higher Level GNVQs

The first phase of consultation on Higher Levels of GNVQ has just finished, and follows on from the earlier consultation exercise into Higher Levels of NVQ awards. The extension of qualifications to the Higher Levels within these two areas will represent the completion of the two vocational frameworks. The consultations have raised important and fundamental questions, in particular, how the vocational frameworks will align with the academic framework. What will be the purpose of GNVQs in the Higher Education framework? The distinctions between academic and vocational frameworks continue to converge. Within Higher Education some awards are very much academic, e.g. a

Give Us a Chance

The Press should look at the facts behind the pilot General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) before judging them, says Richard Evans. Yet again, the GNVQ awards are under the microscope. Almost daily the Press report in their usual sensationalizing fashion the growing pains of this important qualification with little attempt to provide a careful analysis of the background and context of the developments with the award. The importance of GNVQs surely merits a sensitive and well-informed analysis of the purpose of the qualifications by the tabloid and broadsheet Press; they owe it to the students, prospective students, parents and the

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