Vocational and academic education will only be valued equally when they are equally valuable.

I was very interested in this speech this week.  It touches on the changes to education with the Butler Act and then to modern day.


I have been an advocate of vocational and academic education being equally valued since my late teens. This was when I realised that my teachers were suggesting I studied economics, history and geography for A level and couldn’t see why I wanted to do woodwork and technical drawing, despite being involved with preparation for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award where I chose practical options that I passed successfully at every stage.

In later years as a teacher in charge of a large group of over 200 children with very diverse skills and abilities I worked around the legislation at the time to ensure my children got the best for them to reach their potential. By the end of year 11 20 of my students had studied more technically practical subjects as well as the statutory English, Maths and Science. The subjects ranged from bricklaying to  painting and decorating.

Despite previous reservations it was recognised that the attendance and enjoyment of school improved and the young people left school with good results and in most cases ready made jobs in their chosen profession. They also had access to further training similar to todays modern apprenticeship. In comparison those who stayed on the traditional route found gaining jobs more tricky and two years down the line one of the original group was sponsored to a university place relating to the built environment.

For me its about Every child mattering –  as the saying goes – join this together with us needing to create wealth to ensure our economy grows and jobs for our young people to allow them to look after their families.

In my local area we are soon to see the University Technical College’s (UTC)  Engineering, Water and the Environment  planning application come into play as its journey to completion moves along. http://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=20814

A pre-planning consultation will now be held for local residents on Wednesday 5th February, 5-6.30pm, at Old Forde House, with the planning application being submitted during February.

Join the journey and follow its progress to ensure our young people really matter as individuals.