First Edge lecture sets out vision for education and training

Published: 11 February 2008 at 09:57

Half of teenagers who choose wrong education path are being misdirected by their parents.

A lecture, organised by Edge and Anglia Ruskin University, has for the first time joined together secondary schools Head Teachers and college Principals from Essex to talk about building a world-class education and training framework for the region. 

It was planned as part of the University’s 150 Year anniversary celebrations.

Dr Ken Boston, Chief Executive, of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, delivered the inaugural Edge Education Lecture at Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus. It attracted around 50 key people involved in education from the mid Essex area who were keen to discover more about the new diploma.

Dr Boston, opened the lecture by praising Edge’s current campaign progress to date. He said:

“Edge is doing a remarkable job in promoting vocational and practical learning as another way forward for many young people, including the most able.”

”It is an independent foundation, driven solely by altruism, which seeks to break down the false division between the academic and the vocational. It is widely respected by policy makers, and has developed an innovative range of programmes and awards which I think has the real potential to bring about a change in attitude, of benefit both to individuals and the nation.”

He confirmed that everyone involved in education had been moved by the recent television advertisement, funded by Edge, which asks parents 'Are you pushing your kids in the wrong direction?'

According to Edge, more than one in five young people think they have been led down the wrong educational path, with almost half of these being misdirected by their own parents.  The campaign challenges parents to stop thinking of academic qualifications as the only route to success. The experts behind the campaign believe that parents should be encouraged to reassess their views about their children’s education, listen to what their children really want from work and life and discuss all the education and career options available.

Dr Boston stressed that Edge is making the most of the human capital of each individual - the intellectual capacity and technical skill of the individual and the country as a whole.  He quoted the success of skills competitions, including Worldskills, the international skills olympics which are held every two years, and will be held in London in 2011. The trades and disciplines in which the competitions are held include autobody repair, joinery, stonemasonry, bricklaying, automobile technology, cabinet and jewellery making.

He explained that his main belief is that higher order thinking is inherent in top quality vocational education and qualified this thought by saying:

“The quality of all learning is expressed in the quality of the interaction of brain, eye and hand - reasoning, judging, doing - whether it is cabinetmaking, creating fine jewellery, writing a sonnet, or solving an equation.”

He talked in depth about the flagship strategy for raising participation in education for post-16 year olds centered on the new Diploma which draws on a whole new range of industry-based applied curriculum, designed to reflect outcomes-based national occupational standards. He stressed that it is of extreme importance for parents and educators to understand that the Diploma is an education programme not a training programme.

Dr Boston summed up his thoughts on the value of Diplomas by saying,

“The  objective is that individuals should become highly-functioning young adults, ready to enter the world of employment directly, or in parallel with or following a period of further, advanced or higher education, or job-related training.”

“It is in the interests of both the individual and the nation that we make education and training a success.”

Essex schools represented at the lecture included Mayflower High School, The Billericay School, Brentwood County High School, Colne Community High School and College, Robert Clack School, and St Thomas More High School for Boys.