Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Profound Changes for 16-19 Education

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Profound Changes for 16-19 Education

Article excerpt

The changes that are being planned in the 14-19 curriculum are likely to have a big impact on teachers. Courses are changing, and the system itself is evolving in new directions.

Economic need rather than culture is gradually becoming the dominant factor in 14-19 education. This is requiring a different curriculum, one which will become more apparent to teachers over the next ten years in both scale and concept. The debate over the future of A levels and GCSEs, and their relevance to economic needs, continues. TheTomlinson Report did advocate scrapping them in favour of academic and applied units, making up a general diploma forali students. Unfortunately, in my view, influential educational voices have managed to put off the inevitable for the moment.

Nevertheless, the curriculum is becoming more skill focused with many GCSE syllabuses changing in 2009. A levels have just started a new syllabus. According to the DCSF's strategy paper Promoting Achievement, Valuing Success: A Strategy for 14-19 qualifications (March 2008), the A2 is to have "more stretch", "more open-ended questions" and "a greater emphasis on the skills of analysis and evaluation". I believe that teachers should take note, as this could have implications for their students' results in 2010.

A levels are to be reviewed in 2013, by which time all the planned 17 diplomas will be available. These require students to pass many components, including the new functional English, maths and ICT skill requirements. From 2012, functional skills at level 2 will be needed to gain GCSEs in English, maths and ICT at A*-C The respective departments (English, maths and ICT) will probably take responsibility for functional skills and will therefore see considerable reorientation in their teaching. All teachers and lecturers may be wise to gain experience of delivering applied courses as these require a very different styl e of teaching. Ofsted, too, perhaps needs to revise its view of what is a good or outstanding lesson. In my experience, its current criteria are designed for academic lessons; they do not fit a good or outstanding applied lesson, where different teaching methods are required to teach the necessary skills.

From 2013 all young people will have to remain in education or training until they are 17 - and to 18 from 2015 onwards. …

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