A new report from former Conservative education secretary Sir Kenneth Baker calls for a new approach to equip young people with the skills they need in the 21st century
A proposal for a new broader Baccalaureate that combine a small group of core academic subjects with creative and technical skills. Photo credit: fotolia
The new report 14-19 Education – A New Baccalaureate published today is a proposal for a new broader Baccalaureate that combine a small group of core academic subjects with creative and technical skills to ensure young people’s interest in learning is sustained and that they leave school with the skills they need for the modern labour market.
Baker is now chairman of the Edge Foundation, an independent education foundation, dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning in the UK. He argues that the present government’s English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a “missed opportunity to fulfil the Prime Minister’s own vision for social mobility” and is too much like the curriculum first set out by the Board of Education in 1904. He believes that a broader set of subjects should be studied between 14 – 19 to include technical and creative subjects and to demonstrate the value of creative and technical to the 21st century economy.
Baker recommends broadening the scope of the EBacc to include:
- Two science GCSEs – one of which could be computer science
- A humanities GCSE from a list which would include history, geography, religious education and foreign languages
- A creative GCSE from a selection including art and design, music, drama and dance
- A design and technology GCSE or an approved technical award: examples include the Cambridge National Certificate in Engineering and the Pearson BTEC First Award in Construction and the Built Environment.
Baker’s report supports the key findings of the Tomlinson Report in 2004, which found that that a large proportion of young people were ‘disengaged’ – that was either actively or passively, they were switched off by the standard curriculum. Tomlinson’s report was vetoed by the Blair administration fearing a backlash from middle class parents.
Baker says: “We need to build on this broader Baccalaureate to create a single unified phase of 14-19 education that prepares young people for employment in the global digital economy.”
14-19 Education – A New Baccalaureate and an executive summary of the publication are both available to download for free from the Edge website.