HC Deb 02 July 1986 vol 100 cc539-41W
Mr. Pawsey

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the development of the curriculum under the technical and vocational education initiative.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

As explained in the White Paper "Working Together: Education and Training" published today, the Government have decided that the technical and vocational education initiative should be extended from the pilot to a national scheme from autumn 1987, to be administered by the Manpower Services Commission working in close consultation with the Education Departments.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I are issuing guidance to local education authorities about the curricular criteria for the TVEI extension, which will be as follows:

  1. 1. Authorities will be required to submit development plans which are designed to show how they will make available to students in the 14–18 age range in their areas programmes of full-time studies, drawing on the experience of the TVEI pilot projects. Within the development plan which each authority submits, the proposals for the curriculum for students to whom the extension applies will be assessed for their consistency with the Government's policies for the curriculum as expressed in "Better Schools" as regards England and Wales and the Munn Report and Action Plan as regards Scotland.
  2. 2. Aspects which will be particularly taken into account for this purpose are set out below. They refer especially to what is proposed to be offered to those affected in the 14–16 age range. Due allowance will be made for the different situation of greater specialisation post-16 where studies may prepare directly for a specific vocational area, as defined in paragraph 49 of "Better Schools".
  3. 3. The individual programmes made available to students through the structure and application of common cores and option choices should be broad and balanced. They should be related to experience and aim to stretch all pupils to the full potential of their abilities. Students should be enabled to acquire a proper balance of knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills including practical applications. The aim of the curriculum should be to develop the potential of all students as a preparation for adult life, including employment and the responsibilities of citizenship. This involves attention to the content of programmes, to the learning and teaching approaches used and to progression and continuity within courses and from year to year, particularly where what is done post-16 needs to start from what has been learnt before. It also involves the provision as far as practicable of programme patterns and choices which allow equal opportunity to boys and girls, to students from ethnic minorities and to students with special needs.
  4. 4. Breadth and balance cannot be achieved without an appropriate representation in each student's programme of technical and practical elements. The development plan should seek to secure that representation. Subject to that the balance should vary according to student needs, but all programmes for the 14 to 16 phase should reflect or make clear progress towards the situation set out in para 69–71 of "Better Schools" and for Scotland in "Curriculum design at S3 and S4: Guidelines for Headteachers" issued by the Consultative Committee on the Curriculum in December 1983. Programmes should include English, mathematics, science, elements drawn from the humanities and the arts, practical and technological work, and access to modern languages, or in Scotland the modes of study set out in the Munn Report. Due regard should be paid the statutory requirements for religious education. There should also be provision for individual and social development including personal counselling and guidance. Post-16 it is desirable that account should continue to be taken of breadth in order to foster the student's versatility and to keep open as wide as practicable a choice of career options.
  5. 5. Relevance should be sought by making programmes include a suitable emphasis on personal and social skills, initiative, and problem solving. Relevance may be improved by pre-vocational studies in appropriate cases and by relating what is taught in a broad sense to potential career opportunities locally and nationally; good careers education and guidance is essential. But relevance should not be sought before 16 through premature vocational specialisation. There should be appropriate planned work experience from age 15 onwards bearing in mind the provisions of the Education (Work Experience) Act 1973, and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.
  6. 6. To secure differentiation, programmes should cater effectively for variations in abilities and aptitudes of all students. All students need to find themselves systematically challenged but not to find that the tasks set are beyond them.
  7. 7. Wherever possible the course of full or part-time education or training should lead to nationally recognised qualifications 541 approved by the Secondary Examinations Council or the proposed new National Council for Vocational Qualifications, or in Scotland the qualifications of SCOTVEC and/or the Scottish Examination Board. These will include GCSE, A and AS levels, BTEC, RSA, CGLI and CPVE, or in Scotland SCE Standard Ordinary, Higher and Certificate of Sixth Year Studies and National Certificate Modules.
  8. 8. Arrangements should be made for regular assessment. Where practicable students should on leaving school be issued by the authority with a record of achievement describing qualifications gained in their programmes and recording significant elements and attainments which are not readily deducible from the qualifications, for example work experience and personal success.

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