The government will start including data on the number of pupils schools send on to higher-level apprenticeships in school league tables in a bid to tackle “snobbery” over technical education, Damian Hinds will say today.
The education secretary will announce a change to school performance tables which will see apprenticeships at level 4 or above count towards a school’s score for the proportion of pupils who go on to higher education after their A-levels.
At present, pupil destinations data presented in online league tables shows the number and proportion of pupils who go on to higher education at university, but not via an apprenticeship.
As a nation I’m afraid we’ve been technical education snobs. We’ve revered the academic but treated vocational as second class
Data on apprenticeships is presented separately, and doesn’t differentiate between lower-level apprenticeships – those at levels 2 and 3 – and higher-level technical qualifications, which are equivalent to foundation, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The changes announced today will mean that a school will get an overall percentage score for the proportion of pupils taking up higher education – both at university or via and apprenticeship – and a breakdown of the types of institution or course they go on to.
Speaking to business leaders, Hinds will warn that the nation has become “technical education snobs”.
“We’ve revered the academic but treated vocational as second class – when we do it well, law, engineering, medicine – then we don’t even call it vocational.
“Why has this has been tolerated for so long? I think the reason is the ‘O.P.C’ problem. For so many opinion formers, commentators and, yes, politicians: vocational courses are for ‘other people’s children’.”
The announcement has been welcomed by David Robinson from the Education Policy Institute think tank.
“Our research confirms that England suffers from an overemphasis on bachelor’s degree level study, and we welcome the government’s renewed focus on higher level technical qualifications, which have long been undervalued,” he said.
“The government is right to broaden the way that it measures the destinations of school leavers, to consider the level, rather than just the type of institution, that young people go on to study at.
“It should go further by developing these measures to also take into account the ability of each school’s intake, so that meaningful comparisons can be made between schools.”