TechBacc will give vocational education high status

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The government has announced the introduction of a "technical baccalaureate" which will showcase young people's abilities in maths, literacy and a high level vocational qualification.

The TechBacc will be a performance measure marking achievement by young people aged 16 to 19 in 3 areas and is intended to reinforce the value of technical and vocational training and qualifications taken by 16 to 19-year-olds.

It will be introduced for courses beginning in September 2014, for reporting in the 16-19 performance tables from 2016.
The three elements are:

  • a high-quality level 3 vocational qualification – the Government has previously announced that only the best courses, recognised by employers, will continue to count in league tables; a list of these courses will be published towards the end of the year
  • a level 3 core maths qualification, including AS level maths; further information about core maths courses for post-16 students will be published by the Department in due course
  • the extended project - this will develop and test students’ skills in extended writing, communication, research, and self-discipline and self-motivation

The Technical Baccalaureate Measure will be aimed at ambitious, talented students who want to pursue a technical career. It will give young people the opportunity to be stretched and demonstrate their personal best.

The group most likely to opt for qualifications included in the Technical Baccalaureate Measure are those who choose to study advanced vocational qualifications having already achieved a grade C or above in GCSE maths. This means that over time, and as standards are raised, the proportion of students able to study at advanced level is likely to increase further.

The qualifications included in the Technical Baccalaureate Measure will be most suited for young people interested in occupations that require significant theory and knowledge acquisition, such as:

  • STEM technicians (e.g. lab technicians, IT technicians, various engineering technician roles, construction professionals)
  • Service technicians (e.g. retail and hospitality management, personal services, junior accounting positions)
  • Creative technicians (e.g. digital media, other media, creative industries, sport industry, material/textiles, design)

The Government is currently consulting on a process for identifying vocational qualifications that are genuinely ‘high value’.

Commenting on the Technical Baccalaureate measure for 16-19 year olds, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “The NUT believes that vocational qualifications should be part of a wider 14-19 integrated system of education where the emphasis is on the opportunity to study general education, specialist areas and vocational learning. This constant tinkering with 14-19 education perpetuates unnecessary divisions and with the introduction of studio schools and University Technical Academies, will lead to a fragmented upper secondary school system.”

“Mr Gove should stop trying to impose massive and unnecessary change on schools and on the curriculum. He should spend some serious time discussing both the curriculum and its appropriate forms of assessment with the profession.

“A frenetic pace of unacceptable announcements is not the way to make coherent and considered educational policy. Our young people deserve better than this.”

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman said: “We absolutely agree that vocational qualifications should be of high quality and have equal status with academic routes, so this could be a step in the right direction. A narrow diet of academic qualifications is not enough to meet the needs of a 21st century workplace so this approach could redress the imbalance that currently exists."

School Leadership Today
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