Centre for Policy Studies in Education

A Review of the Vocational Pathway in England

Seminar 3 of the CPSE Series on Secondary Vocational Education: What Future?

Tim Oates, Cambridge Assessment

Date:  15 April 2013, 4:00 registration for 4:30 start, reception to follow
Location: Parkinson Building, Centenary Gallery

Audio Recording of the Seminar

Tim Oates: A Review of the Vocational Pathway in England [MP3: 26MB]

This lecture used domestic and international evidence to examine the rhetoric and reality around ‘routes’ in the English education and training system.

It was argued that, in the long-running critique of the putative ‘narrowness’ of our 16-19 arrangements, there has been a failure to recognise key assets of the English system. The long-running discussions of a ‘unified system’ and ‘diploma’ arrangements at 19 have not addressed key relations between phases, nor do they engage fully with the realities of other systems in Europe and further afield.

The lecture presented an argument for the development of system arrangements for expansion of the ‘classical’ model of apprenticeship, in order to fill a yawning chasm in the English system. The data presented in the lecture threw new light on A levels, HE and HE expansion, and vocational training – arguing that system reform needs to take on a very different character if we are not to repeat the errors of the last three decades.

Tim Oates is Director of Assessment Research and Development at Cambridge Assessments and is Chair of the Expert Panel charged with conducting a review of the National Curriculum. The report is available from the government website:


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