Monday, 18 May 2009

Edge's failed attempt to transform secondary education

A recent parental survey carried out by Edge (www.edge.co.uk) has shown that secondary schools are failing upto a third of children by not providing enough practical and vocational education. In response Edge has launched its 'Six steps to change manifesto' which includes:
  • the introduction of a broad curriculum up until the age of 14 which allows for the development of life skills
  • SATs replaced by an individual profile of attainment, skills and aptitudes
  • at 14 all students can choose a pathway matched their interests and abilities
  • practical and vocational courses taught in specialist facilities by experienced staff
  • at 16 studenst can choose to specialise within their pathway or change pathway or enter employment with training
  • beyond 18 students would have the opportunity to study at degree level at a centre of vocational excellence endorsed by employers.

Unfortunately, while these proposals may sound interesting to some, the reality is that they fail to address the key source of the problem in education, which is that it remains a nationalised sector which is monopolised by government controlled schools. Until this stranglehold on the supply of education is removed then the status quo will remain and choice, competition and entrepreneurship will be prevented from playing a key role in the sector. It sounds like what Edge really want is innovation in the delivery of education which can only be guaranteed if there are a variety of different and competing providers from across the UK and around the world. Therefore one very simple reform is required. Redirect all public funds from schools to parents and guarantee parents their right and freedom to choose.

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