We'll Come to Rescue of Forgotten Generation; AT MANCHESTER LEADER'S SPEECH MILIBAND VOW TO FIX TORY ELITE EDUCATION SYSTEM PUPILS FORCED TO STUDY ENGLISH & MATHS UP TO 18

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE POLITICAL EDITOR jason.beattie@mirror.co.uk

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband. will today promise to rescue the "forgotten 50%" of the nation's teenagers who are leaving school without decent skills and training.

In his big speech at the party conference, he will set out ground-breaking reforms that give every 16-year-old the chance to study for a goldstandard vocational qualification called a technical baccalaureate or "Tech Bacc".

And all pupils will be forced to study Maths and English up to the age of 18 in a bid to drive up standards. Mr Miliband will also use his time at the podium at Manchester Central to unveil plans for a massive overhaul of apprenticeships.

The reforms - being dubbed the biggest educational shake up for a generation - are aimed at helping the 50% of teenagers who do not go on to higher education.

He will say: "It is time to focus on those who don't go to university. The young who are too often the forgotten 50%. We cannot succeed if we have an education system which only works for half the country.

RIGOROUS "I want a curriculum that is rigorous and relevant with English and Maths up to 18, not 16, culminating in new technical baccalaureate at 18 based on gold-standard qualification s.

"I want ours to be a country where kids aspire not just to go to Oxford and Cambridge but to excellent technical colleges and elite vocational institutions.

We need to build a culture where vocational qualifications are not seen as second-class certificates but as a route to quality apprenticeships and jobs."

Under the plans all pupils will do more vocational training from the age of 14. At 16, those who do not want to pursue A-levels will be able to study for a Tech Bacc. This can only be awarded following successful work experience and a minimum level in Maths and English.

At the moment there are more than 350,000 16 to 19-year-olds who complete their education with a qualification of little or no value.

Mr Miliband will also announce a major reform of the apprenticeships system. This will see the PS1billion Government budget for apprentice training handed directly to businesses.

Firms will also have to prove they are running apprenticeship schemes before bidding for Government contracts. Companies may also be stopped from poaching trained workers from other firms rather than invest in training themselves.

Mr Miliband, who yesterday laughed and joked on stage with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls during day two of the annual conference, will also use his speech to launch a scathing attack on the Tories. …