Rev James Booth (1806?-1879)
- ‘ Examinations would be held annually, probably in March at convenient places and in different districts, the Institutions in different districts being grouped for the purpose
- Examinations would be conducted simultaneously by papers prepared by the Examiners in London
- Every candidate for examination shall have been, for a certain period (sat six months) a student of a class in an Institute in Union
- A Local Committee, possessing the confidence of the Institutes at each place of examination, should receive papers, be responsible for the efficient and fair conduct of the examination, and return the worked papers by post to the Board of Examiners in London
- The worked papers approved by the examiners would be divided into three classes, according to merit, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and corresponding certificates would be issued to successful candidates
- The certificate should record the name and age of the candidate, the number of lessons attended out of the number given, subject of the examination and the result of the examination
- No certificate should be awarded for any paper which gave evidence of only a smattering of knowledge, however extensive, or which was not well spelt, and fairly written
- 1st class certificates should be very cautiously awarded, so as to indicate a high standard of solid attainment
- A list of suitable subjects for examination should be prepared for approval by the “Conference”. Candidates might enter for any subject offered, but no candidate, after his first examination, might take up more than two subjects in the same year; a thorough knowledge of one or two subjects being far more important than superficial acquaintance with subjects.
The existence of the small number of dissenting academies made a lasting contribution to scientific and technical education particularly through their former students and tutors. They emphasised scientific and technological subjects which at the time were shunned by the established universities. The academies taught laypeople as well as those wishing to enter the church. The Academy founded in Warrington (1756-1786) is a good example of the movement the image above of the Academy is c 1762. The Academy was supported and funded by the newly affluent industrialists from Warrington and beyond who were disillusioned by the standard of education provided by Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The examinations and the resultant value of degrees from these two ancient universities were perceived as questionable. One of the few exceptions was the mathematics course at Cambridge which had tutored Newton. These business people sponsored the academies and wanted to see subjects introduced into the curriculum that would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of commercial and industrial practices and processes. As a result Warrington Academy offered such subjects as chemistry, electricity, logic, magnetism, mathematics, optics, pneumatics as well as the more traditional subjects such as ethics, philosophy and theology. The Academy taught just 400 students in its 29 years of existence and it was never financially secure. Only about 16% of the students studied theological subjects in order to enter the church. The Warrington Academy was finally dissolved in 1786 as a result of continuing financial problems and the hostility of religious bodies to new scientific ideas. However its influence continued to live on after its closure mainly through the subsequent achievements of its former students and tutors. These included Joseph Priestley tutor at Warrington Academy (1761), formally a student at the Daventry Academy (1752), an active member of the Lunar Society and noted chemist. Joseph Priestley was a non-conformist minister who had run a school in Nantwich for a number of years before being appointed to the Warrington Academy. He developed a considerable reputation as a scientist researching gases and electricity. Thomas Percival (one of the first students enrolled at Warrington Academy, founder with others of the Manchester Academy, founder of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and a noted medical practitioner and researcher).
Fortunately with the support of Percival after its closure in 1786 its library, equipment and the money realised from the sale of its building greatly assisted the newly opened Manchester Academy. A portrait of Thomas Percival is shown opposite. The Manchester Academy was founded in 1786 and continued the tradition of dissent by teaching subjects other than theology. was appointed teacher of mathematics and natural philosophy in 1793 and remained there until the Academy was relocated to York in 1803.
When the academy was dissolved in 1786 393 students had been enrolled and these included Thomas Barnes, Thomas Malthus, Thomas Percival (see above), John Simpson and John Goodricke.
Other tutors at the Warrington Academy included: John Aikin, Reinhold Forster, William Enfield, George Walker, Gilbert Wakefield. John Taylor, Joseph Priestley (see above), Anna Barbauld and her brother John Aikin (children of John Aikin).
The first President was Henry Willoughby.
Jean Paul Marat was reputed to have been a tutor of French at the academy. A portrait of John Dalton is shown below.
- P. O’Brien. ‘Warrington Academy 1757-86’ Owl Books ISBN 0 9514333 0X.
Broadhurst. E. M. ‘History of Collegiate Teaching some pioneers Thomas Percival’ Book of Manchester and Salford-Manchester Falkner and Co pages 30-33. 1929.
Schofield. R. E. ‘The Enlightenment of Joseph Priestley’. ISBN 978-0-271-02510-0. Penn State University Press. 1997.
Launched in 1825/26 by Henry Brougham and Matthew Davenport Hill following an article in a journal (1821) by the radical Charles Knight deploring the woeful influence of the popular press on the working classes. Brougham had written a pamphlet ‘Observations on the Education of the People’ proposing the publication of low price books popularising science and general knowledge. A series of weekly and bi-weekly publications were produced by SDUK including the ‘The Penny Magazine’ and ‘The Penny Cyclopaedia’ as well as more expensive tomes e.g. ‘Gallery of Portraits’. Also published was the Library of Useful Knowledge costing sixpence and published biweekly and focused on scientific themes. A portrait of Henry Brougham is shown below.
Topics covered included history, geography and zoology. It was reckoned that there were 200,000 subscribers to the Penny Magazine per week many of whom were artisans but also middle class readers. The publications did not engage in political or religious issues but rather focused on popularising other areas of knowledge. The SDUK wanted to appeal to workers who had just learnt to read and the material was aimed at improving their reading as well as informing them. The SDUK focused primarily on teaching artisans the scientific principles associated with their trades and imparting useful information.
The first publication in the Library of Useful Knowledge sold 33,000 copies mainly to middle class readers and in spite of Brougham’s hopes did not attract readers from the workers. The SDUK ceased most of its operations in around 1848 though some publications continued. While created with worthy and high ideals the SDUK finally failed as the sales of the publications fell. The SDUK was not a complete failure as some commentators have claimed but it did represent at the time the first attempt to create a comprehensive and inexpensive range of educational literature for the masses. A portrait of Charles Knight is shown above.
Separate biographies exist in this section of the website for both Henry Brougham and Charles Knight two remarkable individuals.
A copy of the front page of the Penny Magazine dated 1833 is shown opposite.
- R.K.Webb, ‘The British Working Class Reader’ George Allen and Unwin Ltd. 1955.
Born in London and educated at Eton he was a very religious person and a keen sportsman and both interests greatly influenced his educational beliefs. After leaving school he entered the commodities business involved in particularly those concerned with sugar and tea. After a successful career he became very concerned about the woeful lack of educational opportunities and provision for young people, particularly girls, identifying that in 1880 only 2% of the 750,000 of 16 to 25 year olds, (both sexes), were attending any form of educational institution. He was very much motivated by his Christian beliefs and began to turn his energies to educational reforms.
In 1864 he founded the York Place Ragged School which attempted to get young children off the street and provide a very basic education. Following the Forster Education Act of 1870 elementary board schools were established funded by a compulsory ‘education rate’ that was levied by the local School Boards. This development undermined the ragged schools. In 1882 he founded the Young Men’s Christian Institute which offered a number of trade subjects studied in the evenings for youths aged between 16 and 22. In addition, reflecting Quintin Hogg’s beliefs, the Institute was also a social and athletic club. In retrospect he made a significant contribution to the development of London’s technical education system. Hogg was very committed to providing education for young men and women at a time when very little was being done to increase opportunities for females. The Youth’s Christian Institute was finally located in Long Acre after 1878.
In 1881/2 an old established Polytechnic Institution (1838-1841) in Regent Street that was founded in 1838 by George Cayley found itself in financial difficulties. In 1841 the Polytechnic Institution had changed its name to The Royal Polytechnic (1841-1881) and the Prince Consort had become its Patron. George Cayley was a remarkable individual being a noted scientist and aeronautical engineer. Throughout the period these institutions existed they became established centres for popularising science and new technologies and inventions. Quintin Hogg acquired the lease and closed the Long Acre site and formally opened the Polytechnic Young Men’s Institute in 1882. The Polytechnic aimed at ‘the instruction of artisans and clerks in the principles and, to some extent, the practice of breadwinning pursuits’. The fees were low and the classes often run in conjunction with the CGLI included courses in bricklaying, electrical installation, plumbing and printing. In 1891 the Polytechnic became publicly funded and was officially named the Regent Street Polytechnic. A view of the Regent Street Polytechnic is shown below.
In 1885 Quintin realised that the classrooms of the Polytechnic were empty during the daytime and as a result in 1886 established the Polytechnic Day School. Also in 1885 he opened an Institution for Girls at Langham Place and many of the classes at Regent Street were by then open to young women. By this action he made another major contribution to the educational needs of the time and through a number of day schools which were created in London. Only one of the original schools still exists namely the Quintin School.
The model of operation of the Regent Street Polytechnic prompted the City Parochial Foundation to create the London Polytechnics that included the People’s Palace, the East London Technical College (now Queen Mary College), Northern, Borough, Battersea and Chelsea Polytechnics. In fact Quintin Hogg was able to persuade the Charity Commissioners to endow more Polytechnics in London and by 1900 there were 8 and by 1904 there were 12 in number Their aims and objectives were broadly in line with Hogg’s belief and commitment to promote ‘the industrial skill, general knowledge, health and well-being of young people belonging to the poorer classes’. The Polytechnics at the time occupied an interesting place in the technical education landscape being between the newly emerging civic universities and technical colleges.
Like Lyon Playfair, Quinton Hogg made a major contribution to technical education for those people who at the time were excluded from education. He had a wide vision of education that embraced the intellectual, athletic, social and spiritual aspects of people.
The Regent Street Polytechnic became the Polytechnic of Central London in 1970 along with 29 other institutions to create the binary system of Higher Education. In 1992 The Polytechnic of Central London became the University of Westminster. Quintin Hogg’s legacy lives on through these institutions.
- Hogg. E. M., ‘Quintin Hogg. A biography.’ Archibold Contable and Co. 1904.
- Eagar. W. M. ‘Making Men. The History of Boys’ Clubs and related movements in Great Britain.’ ULP. 1953.
The Future of Physics, first published in Technology Innovation and Society, Summer 1994.
All areas of human activity create and develop their own specialist language. The area of education and training is no exception to this rule and acronyms, abbreviations and special terms abound. The list below attempts to provide a reference of terms used in post-16 education and training as well as terms associated with schools and Higher Education. Although many of the terms are historical they still appear in many documents. This fourth version of the glossary hopefully will cross reference with the history of technical and vocational education, the history of technical and commercial examinations and the chronology. The list cannot hope to be perfectly accurate or complete but should provide a guide to the terminology, new organisations and initiatives that come and go with increasing rapidity but hopefully the list will be of use to the readership.
Update July 2017
A Advanced level (GCE).
AA Advanced Apprenticeship
AACE Army Certificate in Education
AACS Adult Advancement and Careers Service
AAD Advanced Apprenticeship Diploma
AAI Association of Art Institutions
AAP Assessment of Achievement Programme
A1 First Year of Advanced Level Study 2000+
A2 Second Year of Advanced Level Study 2000+
AB Awarding Body
ABC Awarding Body Consortium
ABCM Association of British Chemical Manufacturers’ founded in 1916.
ACC Association Chambers of Commerce
ACCA Qualifications Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales 1997+.
ACE Association of Consulting Engineers.
AEA Advanced Extension Awards first examinations in 2002
AEB Associated Examining Board (‘A’ and ‘O’ levels)
AD Advanced Diploma
AFE Advanced FE level 3 i.e. more than ‘A’ levels
aMA Accelerated Modern Apprenticeship
ALIS ‘A’ Level Information Service – an attempt to assess value added
ALL Advanced Learning Loans
AMA Advanced Modern Apprenticeship
AoN Application of Number
AOs Awarding Organisations
APEL/APL Accreditation of Prior Education (Experience) and Learning/Accreditation of Prior Learning
APU Assessment of Performance Unit established in 1965
AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance
AQAC Accreditation and Quality Assurance Committee
ARC Agriculture Research Council
AS Advanced Subsidiary (Originally called Advanced Supplementary which started in 1987) offered from 2000
ASC Agricultural Secretaries Certificate (Scotland).
ASDAN Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network
ASE Amalagmated Society of Engineers
ASET Association for Sandwich Education and Training
ASET Accreditation Syndicate for Education and Training
AST Advanced Skills Teacher
ATI Association of Technical Institutions
ATC/D Art Teacher’s Certificate/Diploma
AVCE Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education – vocational ‘A’ levels. replaced Advanced GNVQs in 2000
BA Bachelor of Arts
BB British Baccalaureate
BEC Business Education Council – 1974-1983
BEC British Employers Federation
BEng Bachelor of Engineering
BERA British Educational Research Association
BERR Department of Business, Education and Regulation/Regulatory
BESE Board of Education Science Examination
BIM British Institute of Management
BIS Business Innovation and Skills
B-IT Business-Implementation Techniques
BJET British Journal of Education Technology
BoE Board of Education (1899-1944)
BS Basic Skills
BSc Bachelor of Science
BSc (Econ) Bachelor of Science (Economics)
BTC British Training and Enterprise Council
BTEC Business Technician Education Council (TEC + BEC) – 1983-1996
BVQR Board for Vocational Qualifications Reform
C 1, C2 The first two years of a craft course
CA Credit Accumulation
CAC Central Advisory Council
CACE Central Council For Education
CAC (W) Central Advisory Council (Wales)
CAEL Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
CAI Computer Aided Instruction
CBA Certificate in Business Administration (Scotland).
CC’s Commercial Certificates
CCA Credit Common Accord
CCEA Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment
CCW Curriculum Council for Wales
cea curriculum, examinations and assessment
CEE Certificate of Extended Studies
CEBR Centre for Economics and Business Research
CEF European Common Framework
CEI Council of Engineering Institutions
CELP College Employer Links Project
Cert Ed Certificate of Education
CERI Centre for Educational Research and Innovation
CEng Chartered Engineer
CFE Certificate of FE (Various stages e.g. 1,2 and 3)
CFEs Colleges of Further Education
CFE/T Certificate of FE/Teaching
CfL Campaign for Learning
CGLI City and Guilds of London Institute
CI Central Institutions
CIE University of Cambridge International Examinations
CIF Common Inspection Framework
CIS Chartered Institute of Secretaries
CITB Construction Industry Training Board
CMS Certificate of Management Studies
CNAA Council for National Academic Awards 1964/5 – 1992
COAD Centre for Optimal Adult Development
CoID Council of Industrial Design
CoP/CP College of Preceptors
COS Certificate of Office Studies
CoT College of Technology
CPhy Chartered Physicist
CPD Continuous Professional Development
CPF City Parochial Foundation
CPVE Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education 1983-1991 – replaced by the DVE in 1991
CREST Creativity in Science and Technology – to promote links between education and science and technology in industry
CREDIS Credit Framework (Wales)
CRMP Certificate in Retail Management Principles
CS Core Skills
C Sci T Chartered Science Teacher
CSA Council for the RSA
CSE Certificate of Secondary Education introduced in 1965. Ceased1986/87
CSYS Certificate of Sixth Year Studies
CT Credit Transfer
CTC Central Training Council
CTEB Council of Technical Examining Bodies – comprised of CGLI and 6 REBs
C2k Curriculum 2000.
CUC Coal Utilisation Council.
CULE Cambridge University Local Examinations.
CVU Council of Validating Universities.
DA Diploma in Art
DAB Diploma Awarding Body
DAB Diploma Development Board
DAE Diploma in Advanced Engineering
DAS Diploma Aggregation Service
DAuE Diploma in Automobile Engineering
DATEC The Art and Design Committee of TEC – 1977-83
DCAe Diploma in Aeronautics (of the College of Aeronautics – Cranfield)
DCE Diploma of Continuing Education
DCSF Department for Children Schools and Families (2007-2010)
DENI Department of Education for Northern Ireland
DES Department of Education and Science (1964-1992)
DDPs Diploma Development Partnerships
DfE Department of Education (1992-1995)
DfEE Department of Education and Employment (1995-2001)
DfES Department for Education and Skills (2001-2007)
DFE Department for Education (2010+)
Dip AD Diploma in Art and Design
Dip HE Diploma in Higher Education from 1974 HE award equivalent to the first two years of an integrated degree course
Dip Tech Diploma in Technology
Dip Tech (Eng) Diploma in Technology (Engineering)
DIUS Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
DMS Diploma in Management Studies
DoE Department of Employment
DoE Department of Education
DoPA Department of Practical Art
DoSA Department of Science and Art
DoT Department of Technology
DPSE Diploma in Professional Studies in Education
DSA Department of Science and Art
DTI Department of Trade and Industry
DUB Durham University Board
DVE Diploma of Vocational Education replaced CPVE in 1991
DWP Department of Work and Pensions
E 1, 2 & 3 Entry levels 1,2 and 3
EA Education Act
EAB Examinations Appeals Board
EAEB East Anglian Examinations Board (CSE)
EAL English as an Additional Language
EARACFE East Anglian Regional Advisory Council for FE
EAV Examining and Validating
EB English Baccalaureate
EB European Baccalaureate
EBC E Bacc Certificate
EBCs English Baccalaureate Certificates
ECDL European Computer Driving Licence
ECITB Engineering Construction Industry Training Board
ECTS European Credit Transfer System
ED Employment Department
ED Education Department
Ed Dep/ED Education Department (1856-1899)
Edexcel Awarding body formed by merger of BTEC and ULEAC in 1996
EfG Engineering for Growth
EDSU Examination Delivery Support Unit
EIGA Engineering Industry Group Apprenticeships (1953+)
EIS Educational Institute of Scotland
EITB Engineering Industry Training Board
EJEB Engineering Joint Examination Board – comprised Institutions of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Municipal, Marine Engineers, Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Structural Engineers for the purposes of examining candidates for studentship or other grades of the respective institutions
EL Entry Level
ELD Entry Level Diploma
ELWa Education and Learning Wales
EMEU East Midlands Educational Union
EMFEC East Midlands FE Council
EMREB East Midlands Region Examinations Board (CSE)
E 1,2 and 3 Entry levels 1, 2 and 3
EMTA Engineering Marine Training Authority
Eng Tech Engineering Technician
EQF European Qualifications Framework
EQCF European Qualifications and Credit Framework
ERDF European Regional Development Fund
ESB Employer Skills Board
ESIW Essential Skills in the Workplace
E2E Entry to Employment
ET Education Training
ET Education and Training
ETC Elementary Technical Course
ETDU Examinations Techniques Development Unit
EV External Verification/Verifier
EVB Examining and Validating Bodies
FAB Federation of Awarding Bodies from 2001
FBI Federation of British Industries (Now the CBI).
FCEC Federation of Civil Engineers Contractors founded in 1919.
FD Foundation Diploma.
FD Foundation Degree from 2001.
FDA Foundation Degree in Arts.
FDF Foundation Degree Forward.
FDG Foundation Degree Group.
FDS Foundation Degree in Science
FDs Foundation Diplomas
FDTF Foundation Degree Task Force
FE Further Education
FES FE Sector
FES24 FE and Skills 24
FFORWM National Organisation for FE Colleges in Wales
FL Foundation Learning
FLT Foundation Learning Tier
FM Functional Mathematics
FMA Foundation Modern Apprenticeship
FSs Functional Skills
FSMQ Free Standing Mathematics Qualifications
FSMUs Free Standing Mathematics Units
FT Foundation Tier
FTC Full Technological Certificate awarded by CGLI
G General Course
G 1, G2 First two years of a part-time general preliminary diagnostic course at a FE college
G* One-year part-time general preliminary diagnostic course at a college
GA Graduate Apprenticeship
GCE General Certificate of Education from 19511986/87 replaced by GCSEs
GCs Group Certificates
G-CC Grouped-Course Certificate
GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education
GEC General Education Course
GNVQ General National Vocational Qualification 1991
GRIC Graduateship/Graduate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry
GSVQ General Scottish Vocational Qualification
H Higher grade of the Scottish leaving certificate
HCOS Higher Certificate in Office Studies
HNC/HND Higher National Diploma/Certificate 1921+
HD Higher Diploma
HFE Higher and Further Education
HMIs Her Majesty Inspectors
HSLC Higher School Leaving Certificate
HT Higher Tier
HTB Hairdressing Training Board
HTC Higher technical Certificate
HTD Higher Technical Diploma
IBacc/Int Bacc International Baccalaureate
IBD International Baccalaureate Diploma
IC Intermediate Certificate (CGLI)
ICAAE International Curriculum and Assessment Agency for Examinations
ICAC Intermediate Certificate in Art and Crafts
ICWA Institute of Cost and Works Accountants
ID Intermediate Diploma
IEE Intermediate Engineering Examination
IEng Incorporated Engineer
IEQs International English Qualifications
IIA Institute of Industrial Administration – offered certificate in Foremanship and Works Supervision
IIS Institute of Industrial Studies
IML Institute of Leadership and Management – formed by the merger of NEBSM and ISM in 2002
ILAs Individual Learning Accounts
ILP Individual Learning Plan
IOM Institute of Office Management
ISM Institute of Supervision and Management
ITB Industrial Training Board
ITC Industrial Training Council
ITOs Industrial Training Organisations
ITQ Information Technology Qualification
IVQs International Vocational Qualifications
JACQA Joint Advisory Committee for Qualifications Approval
J1, J2 Prior to 1944 the two years in a junior technical school before entering a senior course in a college
JBPVE Joint Board for Pre-Vocational Qualifications
JC Joint Committee
JCC Junior Commercial Certificate
JCS Junior Commercial School
JCGQ Joint Council for General Qualifications established in 1999 comprising AQA. Edexcel. OCR. CCEA (NI). WJEC (Wales)
JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications
JMB Joint Matriculation Board
JTS Joint Technical Scheme
JTS Junior Technical School
KS Key Skills
KSA Key Skills Assessment
KS 1/2/3/4 Key Stages in National Curriculum
KSSP Key Skills Support Programme
LA Local Authority
LBs Lead Bodies
LCC London Chamber of Commerce started examinations in 1890
LCCI/LCCIEB London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board 1890+
LEA Local Education Authority
LEAEG London and East Anglian Examining Group (GCSE + CSE examinations)
LHCRACTE London and Home Counties Regional Advisory Council for Technological Education
LIBs Lead Industry bodies
LME London Matriculation Examinations
LNE Literacy,Numeracy and ESOL
LPC London Polytechnic Council
LREB London Region Examination Board
LSIS Learning and Improvement Service
LUEs London University Examinations
LUIs London Union of Institutions
MA Modern Apprenticeship from 1995 – Foundation (FMA)/Advanced (AMA)
MAAC Modern Apprenticeship Advisory Committee – 2001+
MaST Mathematics Specialist Teacher
MC Matriculation Certificate
MCT Membership of the College of Technologists taken over by CNAA
MEnt Master of Enterprise
ME/MEng Master of Engineering
MEG Midlands Examining Group (GCSE + CSE examinations)
MLE Main Learning Element
MoE Ministry of Education (1944-1964)
MoL Ministry of Labour
MoT Ministry of Technology
MSc (Eng) Master of Science (Engineering)
MTL Masters in Teaching and Learning
MTech Master of Technology
NAA National Assessment Board
NABCE Non award Bearing Continuing Education
NABTEB National Business and Technical Examination Board
NAC National Apprenticeship Council
NACAE National Advisory Council on Art Education
NACEIC National Advisory Council on Education for Industry and Commerce
NAFE Non Advanced FE – up to level 3 i.e. ‘A’ level
NAS National Apprentice Scheme
NAW National Assembly of Wales
NBD National Bakery Diploma
NC National Certificate from 1921 Joint Committees replaced by BTEC awards
NC National Curriculum
NC/DA National Certificate/Diploma in Agriculture
NCBS National Certificate in Business Studies
NCC National Curriculum Council 1988-93
NCDAD National Council for Diplomas in Art and Design – established in 1961
NCETW National Council for Education and Training in Wales (ELWa)
NCF National Curriculum Framework
NCFE Northern Council for FE
NC/DH National Certificate/Diploma in Horticulture
NCITO National Council of Industry Training Organisations
NCS National Certificate Scheme
NCs National Certificates
NCTA National Council for Technological Awards
NCTEC Northern Counties Technical Examinations Council
NCVQ National Council for Vocational Qualifications 1987-97
NCWE National Council for Work Experience
ND New Deal
NDA National Diploma in Agriculture
ND National Diploma from 1921 Joint Committees replaced by BTEC awards
NDD National Diploma in Design
NDS National Diploma Scheme
NEA Northern Examining Association (GCSE + CSE examinations)
NEB National Examination Board (Shorter title for NEBAHAI)
NEBAHAI National Examination Board for Agriculture, Horticulture and Allied Industries
NEBOSH National Examinations Board in Occupational Safety and Health
NEBSM National Examinations Board for Supervisory and Management
NEBSS National Examination Board in Supervisory Studies – established in 1964
NGfL National Grid for Learning
NICCEA Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
NIG NAFE Implementation Group
NIHEC Northern Ireland HE Council
NISEC Northern Ireland Secondary Examinations Council
NISVQ National Information System for Vocational Qualifications
NNEB Nursery Nurses Examination Board
NOC National Occupational Standards
NOCN National Open College Network
NPS National Preferred Scheme
NPTC National Proficiency Test Council
NQAI National Qualifications Authority of Ireland
NQF National Qualifications Framework
NR National Route
NRA National Record of Achievement 1991+
NRDC National Retail Distribution Certificate
NRCVQ Network of National Resources Centres for Vocational Guidance
NREB Northern Region Examinations Board
NROVA National Record of Vocational Achievement 1988+
NSEAD National Society for Education in Art and Design
NSLC Natural Science Learning Centre
NSTF National Skills task Force established in 1998
NTA National Training Award
NUJMB Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board
NVG National Consultative Group for Co-ordination of Validation Arrangements in Agriculture and Related Subjects
NVQs National Vocational Qualifications 1988+
NWREB North West Regional Examinations Board (CSE)
‘O’ Ordinary level
O1, O2 First two years of an ONC course
Ofqual Office of Qualifications
OC Open College – established in 1987 by the DTI
OD1, OD2 First two years of an OND course
OCR Oxford Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts from 1998
OCEAC Oxford Cambridge Examinations and Assessment Council
OFSTED Office for Standards in Education established in 1992 later titled Office for Standards in Education
OCSEC Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examinations Council (O and A levels)
OD Open Diplomas
ODLE Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations
Ofqual Regulator for qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and for vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland
OND/Cs Ordinary National Diplomas/Certificates from 1921 Joint Committees
1-2-1 Careers advice replaced by Jobseeker Plus 1994-1998
Op 1, Op 2 First two years of an operatives course
Open College Established by the DTI in 1987
Open Tech 1982-87 a relatively short lived project
OT Other Training – other training not leading to NVQ qualifications
OU Open University 1969 first students in 1971
OUDE Oxford University Department of Education
P1, P2 First two years on preliminary course
PCC Preliminary Craft Course (Pre-Craft Certificate)
PCE Professional Certificate in Education
PE Pitman Examinations
PEI Pitman Examination Institute
PGCE Post Graduate Certificate in Education
PIs Performance Indicators
PL Principal Learning
PNC Preliminary National Course (Pre-National Certificate)
POS Programme of Study
PRA Professional Recognition Award
PSC Pre-Senior Course
PST Pre-Senior Course
PST Preliminary Senior Technical Course. (Evening Institute)
PTC Preliminary Technical Course offered by REBs (Pre-technical Certificate)
QAA Quality Assurance Agency
QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 1997+- merger of NCVQ and SCAA.
QCDA Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
QCF Qualifications and Credit Framework
QIA Quality Improvement Agency
QNCA Qualifications and National Curriculum Authority (Original title of QCA)
RAA Royal Academy of Arts
RACs Regional Advisory Councils
RACOFEEM Regional Advisory Council for the Organisation of Further Education in the East Midlands
RCB Regional Curriculum Board
RCT Royal College of Technologists/Technology
RDAs Regional Development Agencies
REBs Regional Examinations Boards/Bodies
REPLAN DES programme to provide better opportunities for unemployed adults – 1984-1991
REUs Regional Examining Unions
RMC Regional Management Centre
RMCA Regional Management Centre Association
RoA Record of Achievement
RoC Rules of Combination
RRQs The Register of Regulated Qualifications
RSA (Royal) Society of Arts founded in 1754
RDA Regional Development Agency
RSPs Regional Skills Partnerships
RtA Route to Achievement
RTJC Retail Trade Junior Certificate
RVQ Review of Vocational Qualifications 1986
RVQs Related Vocational Qualifications
RWE Realistic Working Environments
S1, S2 Prior to 1944 the first two years of a senior course in Scotland
SA Student Apprenticeship
SAD Science and Art Department
SANCAD Scottish Association for National Certificates and Diplomas – established in 1962
SAR Self Assessment Report
SASE Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Employers
SATs Standard Assessment Tests
SC School Certificate
SC Schools Council 1964 replaced SSEC that was created in 1917
SCAA School Curriculum and Assessment Authority 1993-1997 – merged with NCVQ to form QCA
SCAGES Standing Conference of Associations for Guidance in Educational Settings
SCC Senior Commercial Certificate (Scotland)
SCCE Scottish Council for Commercial Education – established in 1961
SCCE Schools Council for the Curriculum and Examinations
SCAA Schools’ Curriculum and Assessment Authority
SCDU School Curriculum Development Committee founded in 1984
SCE Scottish Certificate of Education
SCORE Science Community Representing Education
SCOTBEC Scottish Business Education Council
SCOTCATS Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme
SCOTEC Scottish Technician Education Council
SCOTVEC Scottish Vocational Education Council 1983+ Scottish equivalent of TEC and BEC
SCQF Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework from 2002
SCRAC Standing Conference of Regional Advisory Councils
SCREB Standing Conference of Regional Examination Boards
SCTEB Standing Conference on Technical Examining Bodies
SD Specialised Diplomas
SDC Scottish Diploma in Commerce (Scotland)
SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
SE Scottish Executive
SEAC School Examination and Assessment Council 1983-1993 replaced by SCAA
SEB Scottish Examination Board
SEC Schools Examinations Council founded in 1984
SED Scottish Education Department
SFR Statistical First Release
SEG Southern Examining Group (GCSE + CSE examinations)
SEO Scottish Office
SEREB South East Regional Examinations Board (CSE)
SFA Skills Funding Council
SIAD Society of Industrial Artists and Designers
SL Supplementary Learning
SoA Society of Art
SOC Standard Occupational Classifications
SOED Scottish Office Education Department
SQA Scottish Qualifications Authority from 1997
SQC Scottish Qualifications Certificate
SRCFE Scottish Region Council for FE
SREB Southern Regional Examinations Board (CSE)
SS Skills Strategy
SSA Sector Subject Area
SSA Scottish Survey of Achievement
SSC Senior Secretarial Certificate (Scotland)
SSEC Secondary Schools Examinations Council
STC Short Training Course
SRECC Scottish Technical Education Consultative Council
S-SC Single-Subject Certificates
STF Scottish Training Federation
SUEB Scottish Universities Entrance Board
SUJB(SE) Southern Universities Joint Board (for School Examinations)
SVQ Scottish Vocational Qualification
SVQRB Scottish Vocational Qualifications Reform Board
SWEB South West Examination Board (CSE)
‘T’ Technician Course
T1, T2 First two years of a technician course
TC Technical Certificate -part of the Modern Apprenticeship framework 2002+
TCs Training Credits
TEB Technical Education Board (London)
TEC Technician Education Council
TD Technical Diploma
TGAT Task Group on Assessment and Training established in 1983
TMG Target Minimum Grade
TRADEC Trades Education Courses
TRIST TVEI-Related In-Service Training
TSP Training for Skills Programme
TVEI Technical Vocational Education Initiative from 1983
UABs Unitary Awarding Boards/Bodies
UBS Unit Based System
UCLES University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate
UESEC University Education and Schools Examination Council
UD Unit Database
UDE University Diploma of Education
UDSEB University of Durham School Examination Board – abolished in 1964
UEI Union of Educational Institutions
UF Unified Framework
UFI University for Industry from 2000
UKBVQR UK Board for Vocational Qualifications Reform
ULCI Union of Lancashire and Cheshire Institutions
ULEAC University of London Examinations and Assessments Council
UODLE University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations
UoD Units of Delivery
UoI Union of Institutions
UQ Unified Qualifications
ULF Union Learning Fund
UVP Unified Vocational Preparation 1976-1983 DES/TSD initiative to develop vocational preparation for young people in jobs which did not offer any training or FE
VABs Vocational Awarding Bodies
VASFE Vocational Aspects of Secondary and FE
VCE Vocational Certificates of Education
VCE ‘A’ level Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced level
VET Vocational Education and Training
VGCSEs Vocational GCSEs replaced GNVQs in 2001
VQs Awarding bodies include: CGLI. AQA. OCR. Edexcel. CITB. EITB. OU. LCCIEB. Institute of Management Foundation. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Chartered Institute of Bankers.
VQRP Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme
VRQs Vocationally Related Qualifications from 2002
WABLA (HE) Welsh Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education from 1982
WAG Welsh Assembly Government
WB Welsh Baccalaureate
WBA Work Based Assessment/Accreditation
WBA Work Based Assessment
WE Work Experience
WJEC Welsh Joint Education Committee (Cyd-Bwyllgor Addysg Cymru – CBAC) 1944+
WMACFE West Midlands Advisory Councils for FE
WMEB West Midlands Examinations Board (CSE)
WO Welsh Office
WRNAFE Work Related Non-Advanced FE
WULF Wales Union Learning Find
YA Young Apprenticeship
YC Youth Credit
YCFE Yorkshire Council for FE
YHAFHE Yorkshire and Humberside Association for Further and Higher Education
YHREB Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Examinations Board (CSE)
YPLA Young People’s Learning Agency
YTS Began in 1983
YUMI Yorkshire Union of Mechanics Institutions
A few definitions of terms and expressions commonly used in examining and examinations:
Academic Drift The perception by many to see academic qualifications as superior to non-academic or vocational programmes and therefore follow the supported academic routes. Also technical and vocational qualifications drift and gradually become more academic in nature.
Accreditation Set of formal procedures though which one academic body or university accredits the awards of another and acts as guarantor of appropriate standards
Achievement Outcome of learning, the acquisition of competence, skill or knowledge
Aptitude: an individual’s potential ability to acquire skills or knowledge.
Assessment: a judgement about the quality of a student’s work and the level at which the student has performed. Formative assessment is carried out during the course of study whilst summative assessment is carried out at the end of the course. Formal methods of assessment include assignments, examinations, essays, multi-choice, projects and tests.
Attainment: level of learning or achieving knowledge or skills to date in defined areas.
Competence: the ability to perform a learned and required task to a recognised standard.
Competence-based assessment: characterised by a focus on measurable learning outcomes, not inputs, the separation of learning from assessment, no-time serving criteria and an emphasis on performance in the workplace (or meaningful simulation).
Credential inflation: the supposed devaluing of qualifications as a result of more students taking them.
Criterion –referenced assessment: an approach when there is a list of criteria available to provide guidance to the standard that is required. A student is assessed according to how well the criteria have been realised and the assessment is made by the tutor or by the student (self-assessment).
Grade Inflation: occurs when the pass marks appear to increase each year but standards don’t and these can fall or just remain the same.
Norm-referenced assessment: an approach when the performance of one individual is ranked in comparison with that of the others. A crude method of limiting the number of passes.
Qualification Inflation A perception/view held by some people that jobs that once required say ‘O/GCSE’ levels now require ‘A’ levels and those that once required ‘A’ levels now require first degrees. It gives rise to so-called under-employment.
Sandwich Course: Period of study in an educational institution augmented by periods of practical work- based experience. Two forms exist e.g. thick – long periods and thin – shorter periods of placement.
Skills: Practical abilities that underpin performance
Validation: A process of quality assurance through which a course/programme of study is deemed worthy of the validating/awarding body’s approval
Workplace Competences: Inter-personal skills-( i) teamwork and ability to collaborate in pursuit of a common objective. (ii) leadership capabilities. Intra-personal skills- i) motivation and attitudes. (ii) ability to learn. (iii) problem solving skills. (iv) effective communication skills with colleagues and clients (e.g. written, verbal and numerical). (v) analytical skills and Technological and ICT skills
Introduction and Reflections
Writing this short and history has been an enjoyable experience providing me with a rich and fascinating insight into this important aspect of the education system. Constraints of time and space have made it impossible to record all aspects of such a complex topic and as a result many key elements have not been considered e.g. education and training in agriculture, horticulture, art and design, technical and commercial education for women, work place learning and the development of technical education in Ireland and more recently Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I intend to describe these and other topics not covered in the history later.
This chapter attempts to bring the history to a conclusion and will reflect on some of the issues identified throughout the period covered. Chapter 1 of the history identified a number of problems and obstacles that have impeded the development of technical education and training particularly in England and in this chapter I will briefly reflect on some of these of factors. The history of technical and commercial education and training has most certainly confirmed that a laissez faire philosophy prevailed for most of the period since the late 18th century. Successive governments were reluctant to get directly involved in its development until well into the 19th century and even then in a guarded and half hearted fashion. Even when governments did begin to get involved and introduced a more centralist control they failed to develop consistent, fair, robust and sustained policies towards technical and commercial education and training. Whichever government was in power the school and university sectors inevitably received preference in terms of resources and understanding. Ironically the history has shown how the pendulum swung and how successive governments have gradually begun to intervene in the management of technical and commercial education. The pendulum has moved from one extreme point of disengagement to the other and currently education and training is micro managed to a massive degree in terms of content and assessment regimes in stark contrast to the laissez faire approach of the 19th century. Clearly what is now required is a more acceptable balance between these two extremes that capitalises on each of their respective advantages.
Class discrimination most certainly figured greatly in the history and sadly still persists today. A recent survey (July 2009) on social mobility again identified the continued influence of privilege and advantage in the backgrounds of children wishing to enter the professions. However the report presents a partial and biased account of the situation by using language that itself reinforces the way this country perceives the status of occupations and education. The survey categorises and ranks the perceived value and social standing of professions by using such expressions as the higher professions meaning the senior echelons of the civil service, financial services, law and medicine whilst scientific or technological professions are not included within the term! This report along with others which have appeared over many years inevitably stress that the country needs more young people to go to university in order to gain first or higher degrees. It’s all about increasing the number of graduates irrespective of the degree subject studied. In addition numerous reports and surveys seldom mention or attempt to advocate long term strategies to increase the number of graduates in subjects like engineering, mathematics, physical sciences etc. In addition these reports rarely mention the importance and role that can be played by other sectors of education e.g. colleges and training providers. These institutions can make a significant contribution in improving the flow of the vast majority of qualified people into a wide spectrum of occupations as well as supporting people in work to update their skills. This country still seems to undervalue the essential skills and competences that should be possessed by the majority of workers and assigns greater status to graduates and people in the so-called higher professions. What is urgently required is the recognition that a productive workforce is one in which all members are qualified and equally regarded. A balanced and qualified workforce increasingly involves working in teams with all members of the team bringing specific and various competences, knowledge, skills and understanding to the task/project in hand. Each member makes a contribution making use of their specific specialisms and skills. A good example of this is the engineering team where the chartered engineer, the incorporated engineer and the engineering technician work to each other’s strengths to achieve successful outcomes to their work. Their respective education and training must be seen as of equal value and the qualifications and experiences gained by each member valued.
One of the problems with much of the research about the effect of class and social mobility is that it is conducted by people who have no direct experience of the state system of education nor have they in worked technical and scientific occupations. As a result one will always get a partial and narrow set of outcomes often reflecting the backgrounds and dare I say it prejudices of the researchers. The influence of the private school sector still creates and exercises a disproportionate influence on so many aspects of this country’s life. Former students of private school education continue to occupy senior and influential positions in politics and the so-called higher professions. The issue of advantage because of privileged backgrounds or class has been known for decades if not centuries and yet the recent survey was picked up by the press and media as something that was a new occurrence. The 2009 survey again rehearsed issues that have been highlighted many time before but at least highlighted that in spite of all the initiatives over the years social divisions continue to increase and social mobility has declined. An example of the advantages gained from a privileged background was identified by Philip Vernon back in the 1950s citing the benefits of extra coaching/tuition given to pupils preparing for the 11+ examination. Vernon conclusively showed that additional coaching could increase the IQ index by 14 points. The advantage came from the fact that pupils who attended certain schools would receive more concentrated tuition in class and/or their parents could afford to pay for additional private tuition. Vernon also pointed out the benefits of such factors such as class size and resources.
Another factor identified in the history is the continued indifference towards scientific and technical education and training by politicians in this country. This deficit has been exacerbated over the past two decades by the appearance of the career politician who has little or no experience of working in industry let alone any direct experience of science or technology. Many of them enter politics as political assistants or researchers or after leaving the rarefied atmosphere of the city and yet they will be taking decisions that affect the majority of people in the country. One symptom of these career politicians is their use of language which they and their script writers bombard us with. Meaningless jargon and acronyms abound in an attempt to convince us that they are superior to ordinary mortals and innovative and very knowledgeable about the topic. Because they know little about the subject they seek sanctuary in this gobbledegook.
Throughout the history many examples of academic drift have been highlighted in the development and evolution of technical and commercial education and training. The desire to hierarchically rank institutions, occupations and qualifications abound. A wide range of descriptors are used to differentiate and segregate these elements into groups to indicate that they are better than the rest. One of the many unfortunate consequences of academic drift is that many institutions strive to get into the top league. A classic example is when a number of polytechnics were designated universities then quickly dropped large tracts of technical subjects or transferred this provision to local colleges. Universities which carry out a large proportion of research are perceived as being superior to those that are predominantly teaching institutions. Degrees are perceived of more value and a higher status than say HNDs/HNCs whilst GCE ‘A’ levels are seen of greater value than technical and vocational qualifications gained from CGLI, RSA et al. The current review of assessment (2009) that was established following the 2008 examination marking fiasco managed by QCA has already stressed that ‘A’ levels are the gold standard for entry into HE. The resultant coverage by the media again emphasised that ‘A’ levels are special and if students struggle with them they should, quote, ‘seek alternatives’ like technical and vocational qualifications. Explicitly they are placing these awards in a lower league than GCE ‘A’ level. Another current example of the obsession is associated with institutional titles adopted in order to differentiate them from other institutions, e.g. the creation of COVEs, City Academies, Specialist Schools etc. Many other examples exist but academic drift does create a false belief that a hierarchical system is beneficial for institutions, occupations and qualifications and people etc. As a result technical and practical occupations and by definition their qualifications are perceived as being of a lower value and status than the so called academic qualifications. Even more concerning is the continuing perception that technical and practical occupations and qualifications are for people labelled as “less able”.
Another really fascinating current example of how governments perceive the value of various qualifications and experience in the workplace is shown by the latest points system being introduced to assess the eligibility of immigrant workers wishing to work in this country. One key indicator in assessing eligibility is associated with degree qualifications e.g. an applicant possessing a degree or better still a Masters qualification will gain far more points than a person who does not possess a degree equivalent qualification. Equally disconcerting is that less recognition will be given to an individual who has been both successful and gained significant experience in a particular occupation. So again a degree is seen as more important than other qualifications and skills acquired through direct, sustained and proven experience in the work place.
Another factor identified throughout the history was the complacency of British industry and its supposed supremacy in the world. This attitude persisted well into the 20th century even though by then it was obvious that the country was no longer the workshop of the world and had lost the ‘empire premium’. One interesting example of this complacency was associated with the arguments about Britain’s contribution to the European Community budget in the 1970s. Britain fought hard and long to get a rebate arguing it received little back from its contribution. A little known fact was that when the initial agreements were struck regarding Britain’s contribution the government and many employers imagined that the bigger and freer market so created by entry to the Community would result in a massive increase in exports to the EC countries. Politicians and some employers still had an inflated belief that it could export more of the country’s products and services to the other nine members but this proved to be a false aspiration as we had lost our competitive edge in manufacturing. Therefore what had not been fully recognised, by the politicians and employers, and this reflected the complacency, was that by the mid-1970s the country had lost most of its manufacturing base. As a result the country was confronted with a massive deficit between the contribution made and the financial return resulting from our misguided assumption of increased export revenue to Europe.
Perhaps this history can be accused of being too negative about the development of technical and commercial education and training but I hope it triggers constructive debate. The history has described a wide range of initiatives many of which were driven by a number of remarkable visionaries but they ultimately failed because of inadequate resources or lack of political will. Increased funding, positive changes in government priorities and the resultant initiatives have over the decades promised much and raised expectations. However as a result of these hopeful signs many false dawns appeared and expectations were all too often violated and overall it is fair to say that little has improved and many fundamental weaknesses still persist. What is urgently needed now is a fundamental and radical reform in order to tackle and resolve once and for all the multitude of problems and obstacles, many of which are interrelated, that exist at present. A fundamental review and reform of public services is urgently required particularly in regard to their purpose and relationship with the private sector. So as I approach the end of the history I will attempt to draw a number of strands together.
Below is a summary of some of the issues that have and continue to impact negatively on the development of an effective system for technical and commercial education and training. The list focuses mainly on current problems associated with technical and commercial education and training. Many of these have in different forms been present over the period of this history and have most certainly contributed to its slow and disappointing development.
Current Problems and Obstacles Associated with Technical and Commercial Education and Training.
- Continued interference and intervention from government – split responsibilities across a number of departments – no consistent policy approach.
- Increasing micro-management of education and training from the government and its departments.
- Too many disparate initiatives and quangos and changes in policy which are too often operated on a short term basis and without any proper evaluation.
- The post-16 sector is still a very fragmented sector – too many organisations involved in managing the providers e.g. LSC, LLSCs, SSCs etal.
- Inadequate funding and the operation of insensitive funding methodologies that do not fully recognise the true costs associated with practical based subjects.
- The continuing negative view driven by the class structure and the resulting snobbery in this country towards technical and commercial education and training and practical/manual professions
- The damaging consequences of the continued operation of the free market resulting in wasteful competition in the drive to cut costs.
- The belief that the USA can offer the best solutions to our problems associated with education and training instead of looking at other countries that have developed excellent technical and vocational systems e.g. Sweden. Finland, Australia etc.
- Too many quangos and agencies that are largely unaccountable and staffed by people who possess little or no knowledge of technical and vocational education and training and have little or no knowledge of the world of work in the economy.
- No real government commitment to involve employers in an equal way in the planning and decision taking processes – too often tokenism is exercised by politicians and their advisors and consultants.
- Currently very few scientific and technical Foundation Degree programmes.
- Ageing staff in FE – the majority of whom lack recent experience in work places in the economy.
- Not clear how the proposed National Skills Academies will relate to the Centres of Excellence in FE and other specialist and centres of excellence institutions that are currently being created.
- Skills gaps and shortages continue across practically all employment sectors.
- In addition to the ethical issues the government continues to operate a muddled approach on economic migrants and their role in regard to skill shortages and gaps.
- Ineffective labour market research and intelligence.
- Ineffective careers guidance, advice and information for school leavers and adults.
- No real sense of urgency to solve the problems associated with skills e.g., time lines being set for 2020!
- GCE ‘A’ level still dominates and shapes level 3 qualifications.
- The current skills agenda is still obsessed with level 2 qualifications – little emphasis on the higher skills levels.
- The current absence of any education and training policy for the over 25 year-olds.
The second list identifies some of the factual realities that need to be recognised and addressed in order to begin to resolve and remove the obstacles.
Some Facts that Impact on Possible Reforms of Technical and Commercial Education and Training.
- Continued closures and mergers of technical departments in colleges.
- Continued closures or mergers of university departments in the sciences, in Mathematical and technological related disciplines – approaching 100 over the past fifteen years.
- The concerns about the quality of graduates and grade inflation of degrees.
- The completion rate for apprenticeship is still woefully low at 39%.
- The inability of engineering, mathematics and science professions to attract a sufficiently high proportion of motivated and able students.
- The continuing lack of recruitment of women into scientific, technical and technological subjects.
- Enrolments in technical and practical based subjects continue to decline at all levels.
- Mathematics, science and technical subjects continue to be unpopular at the post -16 stage.
- Shortages of qualified staff in key subject areas in FE often resulting from low salaries and intense competition from other employment sectors.
- Low staff morale in colleges and other training providers.
- Although participation in education and training has been widened and increased particularly for the 16 to 21 age group since the early 1990s this aspect is littered with questionable targets, league tables and performance indices.
- Relatively small increase in enrolments since the early 1990s in technical programmes above level 2.
- GCE ‘A’ levels must be fundamentally reformed or ceased altogether.
- The new curriculum frameworks being developed must not be based on the GCE ‘A’ level model especially the assessment regimes.
- Imposition of the free market to encourage competition and drive down costs has seriously damaged the education and training sectors and has not necessarily led to the intended improvement in quality.
- The introduction of broader based vocational programmes e.g. GNVQ, Applied GCSEs, Modern Apprenticeships and Vocational Diplomas etc. to encourage increased numbers of technically qualified people has yet to be fully evaluated.
- Encouragement of a culture of lifelong learning with such programmes as New Deal still not realised its intended impact on people’s choices.
- Industrial productivity continues to fall relative to our competitors – current level back to what it was in 1990 (OEDC and ONS figures for 2005).
- The continued neglect of the importance of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy. They will play an increasingly important part in the economy and must be supported and receive special assistance from the government e.g. tax and grant concessions and lower interest rates to encourage their growth. Strategies to help SMEs develop CDP programmes for their employees.
- Poor performance in producing graduates in science, mathematics, statistics and engineering compared with the India, China and Eastern Europe.
- The continued poor levels of literacy and numeracy skills in the country especially among adults.
- One in 12 secondary schools are still failing to achieve the government target for GCSE results (namely at least 30% of pupils should get five C grades at GCSE, including English and Mathematics). Of the 270 schools failing 40 are academies – so much for a goverment flag ship!
- The SATs tests in 2009 have shown that 35,000 pupils will leave primary school unable to read or write properly. In addition the results show that 20% of pupils failed to reach level 4 in English whilst the figure in mathematics was 21% . Equally concerning even accepting the questionable value of these tests that the overall standards have declined in 2009 for the first time since their creation.
- Another international survey on ITC and broadband performance placed Britain 25th out of 66 nations. South Korea and Sweden were placed at the top.
It is important for politicians and other policy makers to recognise that many of the above issues will take a long time and it could even be a generation before they are resolved and as a result will require long term strategies free of political dogma and short term expediency.
As a result of the above lists a number of key questions need to be asked and answered if the country is to begin to resolve these current problems.
Some Questions that Need to be Answered.
- What, if any, is the role of central government policy in technical education and training?
- How can the roles of national economic development, business development, employment and education and training be improved?
- What sensible balance is required between central government, regional and local government in order to manage technical education and training more effectively and efficiently?
- What balance is required between public and private funding and involvement in post-16 education and training to manage education and training?
- How should skills be defined for the future in order to reflect more accurately future needs of employers, learners and occupations and most certainly the rapidly changing nature of work?
- How best can small and medium sized enterprises be supported in order to be more successful and secure in the global economy?
- Is it time to fundamentally review the purpose and role of the public services?
- What levels of freedom and autonomy should education and training providers be allowed to exercise in curriculum development and delivery?
- What levels of freedom and autonomy should examination bodies have in a climate of heavy centralist prescription?
- How should pre-vocational, general and vocational be defined?
- How can the image and status of technical and commercial education and training be improved?
- How can parity of esteem be fully achieved between vocational and academic/general qualifications?
- How best can work based learning be more effectively assessed?
- How can colleges and other training providers develop more realistic working environments (RWEs)?
- How should training be defined in the future as historically it has been seen as being learning a narrow set of operations or skills often by rote learning methods?
- What is the purpose of work experience for different student populations?
These problems must be addressed by all political parties and in education and training policy on a long term basis and education and training should not used as a political pawn. Ideally education and training policy should be operated on a coalition and consensus basis that will allow the distinctive features of long term policies to be maintained and realised for the benefit of future generations of students and learners.
Since 1991 successive governments have developed and driven post-16 education and training policy through the FE sector which from this date included 6th form colleges. However these policies have had little impact on the development of technical and vocational provision in sixth-forms in schools and sixth-form colleges and it will be interesting to see if the current round of reforms will change this situation. After a number of years when successive governments removed the control and management of FE from the LEAs the current reforms to post-16 education and training will bring them back to a limited extent. The LEAs did not have a particularly good track record before in managing colleges and since the last major reforms that led to the incorporation of colleges including 6th form colleges have lost staff who possessed recent experience, sympathy and understanding of post-16 education and training. In addition the current reforms will require schools to introduce vocational programmes into the curricula. I fear schools will find it difficult to rise to the challenges presented by these changes. Schools will not be able to provide the necessary and appropriate facilities without a great deal of funding and find it difficult to appoint qualified staff in a number of vocational areas. In addition many teachers will be resistant to teaching these vocational subjects particularly those who have been involved with the comfort zone of GCSEs and ‘A’ Levels. Since the early 1990s post-16 participation rates have increased and the FE sector enrolled more students than the school and HE sectors combined and colleges recruited more ‘A’ level students than the school sector. However enrolments for technical subjects declined in relative terms to the general/academic and basic skills numbers.
Unfortunately technical and vocational education and training continued to be determined and driven by political dogma and ideology and as the responsibility has been successively moved from one government department to another i.e. DES, DfEE, DfES, DIUS etc. Even after the creation of the DfEE – later named the DfES –there was still no single departmental focus or single minister who had overall responsibility for the system. Responsibility for science has been moved across a number of different government departments over the past few years and this has weakened the profile and influence of science significantly in the political corridors. Too often politicians and staff in quangos and agencies lack understanding of science and technology and nor do they have sufficient empathy or interest in its progress. You only need to look at the wide variation in the lead times taken to introduce major reforms in technical education and training to realise the sector is too often treated with indifference. Too often hastily and poorly resourced reforms are introduced e.g. NVQs and GNVQs with little thought for the long-term consequences of these critical developments and how they relate to existing systems. However even when other reforms take a long time e.g. the formation of NTOs and SSCs it does not necessarily improve the outcome and again reflects a lack of real understanding of the implications and importance of the reforms. An equally worrying characteristic especially with increasing international competition and the demands of the global market is the government’s somewhat unhurried attitude. There often seems to be no real sense of urgency in introducing radical and fundamental reforms preferring to delay major decisions or to just tinker with the existing systems and structures.
Manufacturing continues to decline as companies out -source their production overseas and this coupled with the recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of domestic companies by overseas companies means that fewer technically qualified people will be needed. The additional concern following the M&As development is that Research and Development (R&D) will move to the related outsourced overseas country and will inevitably result in a reduction in the domestic training budgets. The increasing growth of mergers and acquisitions could also weaken the national corporate identity of businesses in this country and create a further fragile aspect in its economy as retrenchment always occurs when recessions happen. A survey conducted by Business Week and Interbrand (2009) identified only one British company namely HSBC in the top 50 global brands and only two others, BP and Smirnoff made it into the top 100 globally acknowledged brands. Clearly the nature of manufacturing has changed over the past few decades and the way the government defines it in terms of statistical returns and reports. Manufacturing in this country has apparently increased by about 30% over the last twenty years. However, the range of products and services in the statistical surveys has been extended to include such areas as creative industries, design, entertainment and multi-media technologies, financial and insurance services and music. So perhaps one of our strengths in future lies with the creative industries? The country has lost most of its manufacturing base and capacity throughout the 20th century. In additional the reputation of our financial and insurance services have been seriously discredited globally recently following the current (2008/09+) credit crunch and the recession. The banking and financial services can be seen as witchcraft and financial terrorism conducted in pin stripes. The obsession with the financial servives , banks and the City is reflected in the way the current administrations in this country and America are tackling the global financial crisis. It’s very much the homoeopathic approach i.e. treat the problem (disease) with the same elements that created the problems in the first place. The homoeopathic approach is more of the same and involves no major reforms to banking or the financial services which both administrations are wedded to. The approach includes further massive borrowings, continuing to allow massive bonuses to bankers, quantitative easing – printing money their do not have and participating in the usual subterfuges with the domestic and global markets that got us into the current mess. This approach will fail and the cycle of boom and bust will continue – more bust than boom particularly in the West. One element that will not be seriously considered with the homoeopathic treatment will be the reconstruction and development of a manufacturing base in Britain and the so-called government matra promising a renaissance of manufacturing will never happen. Clearly this will have a negative impact on technical and vocational education and training. It is important to remind ourselves that since 1945 many complaints have been made about the quality of British graduates and the commercial and technology relevance of their courses. At the school and college level the deficiencies have been even more manifest. The proportion of British children who continue beyond compulsory school education to study engineering/manufacturing, mathematics and the physical sciences has always been low when compared with many other nations. In addition the recent PISA survey (1) show poor literary, mathematical and scientific levels of achievement in the international performance tables and a continued reluctance to study foreign languages.
Even though the country has increased its productivity this increase in relative terms has been less than our competitors and has resulted in a declining market share in the global economy and a loss of competitive advantage. This country has not managed to achieve a balanced economy and this is currently reflected in a massive and growing trade deficit. The economy is now predominantly a service based one and driven by consumerism and we manufacture and export very little. A fundamental weakness in manufacturing in this country is its relatively high dependence on the defence industries. Currently defence industries constitute approximately 10% of our manufacturing base but in addition to questions about the ethnics of exports of armaments to some countries such a high level of dependence is also questionable. The armaments industry is very sensitive to national economic health which over the next few years will be subject to massive cut backs both here and abroad. In 2010 the value of the export of arms and weapons exceeded £14 billion – a figure the country should be ashamed of bearing in mind the countries who bought them. What little manufacturing that exists outside defence e.g. railways is very precarious and likely to disappear as global competition increases. Another fact about employment is that 10% of the working population are employed in the retail and related occupations and as such more consideration needs to be given to their training. Any country must maintain and support a balanced economy comprising services and manufacturing in order to survive in a global economy especially at times of recession and unfortunately this country has not achieved that balance and is unlikely to achieve it because of its obsession with banking, financial services and defence.
However little of these facts and concerns seem to have been considered in any depth by the recent reviews by Leitch on skills and Foster on FE reform. These reviews write about deadlines of 2020 for the lower skill levels– it might be perfect vision (20/20) – BUT is a ludicrous time scale when you look at the speed with which other competing economies are developing their higher-level technical skills base.
I think there is a much wider, fundamental and important problem with this country and it is associated with how it perceives its position, role and standing in the world. At present the country imagines it can punch above its weight in world affairs and most certainly how it manages its economy. Perhaps it is the historical resonances from the empire that has created this complacency and arrogance and false belief that the country can compete effectively in far too many aspects of world affairs and the global economy commensurate with its size and resources. The country must be more realistic, like many other countries, by deciding what products and services will perform well in the global markets and that will give them a significant edge over their competitors. Then having decided what occupational sectors will create a stable and healthy economy to invest significantly and over a long term into all the essential elements of that supporting and enabling infrastructure. Central to this infrastructure is education and training that supports those occupations. Surely it is only when the country has a clear vision of its role and purpose in the world and global economy will it be able to configure the appropriate and relevant education and training systems for its citizens.
Below is a list of some of the initiatives that are relevant to technical education and training and have appeared since the early 1990s particularly under New Labour that are relevant to technical education – I leave you to assess how successful they have been or will be!
Adult Learners Inspectorate.
Adult Advancement and Careers Service.
Career Development Fund.
Centres of Excellence (COVES).
Foundation Learning Tier.
Framework for Achievement.
Informal Adult Learning.
Individual Learning Accounts.
Individual Learning Grants.
Learning and Skills Councils.
Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
Joint Advisory Committee for Qualification Approval.
Employer Skills Boards.
Employee Rights and Responsibilities.
Local Learning Partnerships.
National Employer Service.
Training Quality Standard.
Learner Registration Service.
Local Learning and Skills Councils.
Learn Direct (UfI)
|National Employer Training Programme.
National Apprenticeship Service.
National Skills Academies.
National Health Service University.
New Technology Institutes.
National Training Organisations.
National Qualification Framework.
Qualification Curriculum Framework.
Qualification and Curriculum Development Agency.
Curriculum 2000 (C2k)
Quality Improvement Agency.
Personal Learning and Thinking Skills.
Workforce Development Plans.
Sector Skills Agreements.
Right to Request Time to Train.
Framework for Excellence.
Standards Verification UK.
Sector Skills Councils’ Agreements.
|DIUS – ‘Simplification Plan’ – this must be a joke!
Regional Development Agencies.
Skills Funding Agency.
Sector Skills Councils.
Skills Task Force.
Small Business Service.
Small Firms Training Loans.
Standard Setting Bodies.
Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England.
Time off for Study or Training.
Training for Work.
Union Learning Fund.
Vocational A levels and GCSEs.
Work Based Learning for Adults.
UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
Young People’s Learning Agency.
Regional Skills Partnership.
Advanced and Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks.
Train to Gain.
World Class Skills.
Sector Qualifications Strategies.
Qualifications and Credit Framework
When the Labour government was elected it proclaimed the mantra ‘education, education, education’ which as it transpired, as many of us thought at the time, was certainly not about Technical Education and Training. The depressing fact is that after such a long and colourful history technical education and training is still not fully recognised and valued by the government or the country and is still perceived as the Cinderella of the education system. The problem with this analogy is that this Cinderella never even arrived at the ball! Politicians continue to be largely ignorant of history as evidenced by the culture of not learning from it – technical education and training has suffered greatly from this unfortunate fact. In many ways the Labour Government has been the most disappointing and depressing administration especially in regard to supporting and developing technical and commercial education and training. Lots of talk and raising of expectations but little positive improvement; a succession of ineffective Secretaries of State; numerous initiatives with no real purpose and lack of any real coherence or substance. The really worrying fact is that the government is now using the mantra ‘skills, skills, skills’ and on past performance repetition is the last thing we want!
A number of references have been made throughout this history about bureaucracy, inertia and delaying tactics used by successive governments which have contributed to the slow development of technical and commercial education and training throughout the period covered by the history. That excellent and much missed education and training digest EDUCA published a super feature on this characteristic of British education policy and showed it could be represented by an equation. The equation represented the policy making process in the following way:
(t+c) + i + s = slippage. Where t represents transparency, c consultation, i new ideas and s the system or structure. It is an interesting way of representing the issue as slippage/delay/inertia occurs because each of these inter-related elements inevitably contributes to delay. After all transparency (t) and consultation (c) threaten vested interests and parochial territories that are often linked to history and as such take time to manage and overcome. New ideas (i) are often viewed with suspicion and again in this country are seen as threatening the status quo and the comfort zone of managers and senior staff who are often resistant to change. Obviously it does take time to introduce changes and new ideas properly but the critical issue is the length of time taken to manage the change process. The system/structure (s) whether existing or new will always create delays because of the inevitable resistance and hostility towards change especially if it means loss of reputation of the organisations being altered. Organisations and professional bodies will always fight to protect their territories and parochial interests irrespective of their standing and reputations. The sad reality in this country is that we seem to thrive on maximising these elements and further exacerbate the process by creating innumerable focus groups, meetings, working parties et al. apparently as a diversion.
I have reached the end of this first version of the history of technical and commercial education and training but intend to correct and further enhance it in the future. I will also attempt to write histories on technical and commercial education and training for women and the home countries i.e. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and also the history of company based training during the 19th and 20th centuries. I am also interested in exploring the differences between education and training as the historical definitions have led to a number of misunderstandings and have often diluted the importance of the training process.
It’s been a rewarding project and although at times I will have come over as passionate and obsessive about the subject I hope it will prove of value to readers.
(1) programme for Internaional Student Assessment (PISA). OECD. ISBN 9789264039513. 2010.