Government is keen to emphasise that the studio and technical schools will not limit general learning. But a good education is about more than functional literacy and numeracy or a smattering of science and languages. Young people need not just efficient instruction but the opportunity for exploration – of ideas, history, literature, poetry, music, art, film, politics. These are the things that make and keep us human, and if we don\’t learn how to begin to think about these things when young, we may never return to them as adults.
Most telling of all it is those countries that postpone specialisation which top the international league tables so beloved of Michael Gove. \”Dual education\” Austria was one of the worst-performing countries in the 2009 Pisa tests while informal, inventive Alberta (in Canada) and Finland, in which vocational and academic learning are mixed until later in adolescence, remain at the top.
OK, lovely dear. Finland divides the academic goats from the vocational sheep at 16. So we\’re all agreed then that this is what produces the best education system in the world?
Lovely, so we\’ll proceed on that basis then shall we?
GCSEs for all, A levels and university for a minority, BTecs and apprenticeships for the majority after that.
Good, excellent, we\’re done then, aren\’t we?