University’s focus on A-levels means working-class students are ‘lost’

“There needs to be a change in the approach to education – where all types of post-18 qualifications and pathways have equal value, while higher education institutions also widen access by accepting all these types of qualifications. This approach has the potential to make education fairer and help everyone realize their potential.

The SMF is also calling on the government to raise the national profile of vocational training and apprenticeship courses. A recent report by the government’s Education Select Committee on why white working-class pupils are performing poorly in school called on the government to “ensure the value of vocational training” and “incentivize schools to celebrate all the abilities of their students and to create a parity of esteem” for vocational subjects alongside academic courses.

“At the moment, politicians recognize that education can promote social mobility, but continue to favor one type of qualification and path,” O’Regan said. “This insistence only maintains inequality, while the educational barriers that hold back disadvantaged young people remain in place.”

School leavers surveyed by SMF for careers research last year said they want their guidance counselors to share ‘other options besides college’ and present ‘each option equally’ . SMF’s analysis – for the 2022 Career Supply Report – showed that councils are “socially modeled”, where well-to-do schools tend to push students into college, while poorer schools tend to favor professional streams.

The government told the Big Issue in September that there will be 16 T-levels available to young people in a range of in-demand subjects including digital, construction, health, science, accounting and engineering, with over 175 schools and continuing education providers across England. offering them.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since 2011, we have closed the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers at every stage of education until the pandemic, the gap between more and less advantaged progressing to college shrinking to an all-time high. This year.

“As well as introducing T Levels as the new benchmark technical qualification for young people after 16, we are also making available £2.7 billion by 2025 to help businesses of all sizes create more of apprenticeships and to develop alternatives to traditional three-level training.

“We are also investing in career programs for young people at all stages and have launched the ‘Get the Jump’ campaign to promote the full range of opportunities available to young people.”

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