So Jamie’s Dream School is into Week 5. And what did we learn this week? That theoretical classes are dull and that practical lessons actually get kids engaged. That if you give them parameters and tasks they will seek to do them. If you become too prescriptive they’ll switch off.
Now I’ve been fairly disparaging about students in previous weeks. Like Charlie Sheen, the reason I wrote those things is because I care. I care about how education and educators will work when my children have to go through it and I see certain holes and need filling.
And the hole I picked up on this week is that the GNVQ, vocational and apprenticeship programmes have an image problem. They are seen as inferior, but that is not the case. The previous government was all about ensuring everyone went to university. What happened was that a lot of people did, some did well some didn’t and the end result is that the value of a degree has (to an extent) decreased. It also meant that the government spent a fair amount of money on people who only went because they were unsure of what they wanted to do. And that’s not a bad thing, but it had consequences. I went to Uni with a view to do a degree around business and marketing but not knowing specifically what element.
Vocational programmes play a useful role in that they give kids practical work experience, skills, reduce unemployment figures and increase the longevity of certain more manual jobs – such as electricians, car mechanics, plumbers, etc. Again, these play a really important role to society as a whole, but get miscast as a lower status profession and therefore numbers are going down. Yet they pay well and scarcity will only lead prices up.
So we need to get kids to stop seeing a future after schools of college/uni or benefits. There are options, valid options that will give them a sense of pride and worth.
Here is the latest episode for your perusal