Corbyn: End 'grammar school attitude' to vocational study

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calls for old-fashioned 'grammar school mentalities' about vocational education to be ditched

Tes Reporter

Election 2019: The Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, plans to boost funding in further education and bring back the Education Maintenance Allowance, according to its manifesto

A Labour government would ensure "genuine parity" between vocational and academic education, Jeremy Corbyn has pledged.

In a speech on Tuesday to the EEF (Engineering Employers' Federation) employers' organisation, Mr Corbyn will call for an end to the "outdated grammar school mentality" which looks down on vocational training.

Mr Corbyn will use his speech to set out further details of Labour's lifelong learning commission – chaired by former education secretary Baroness Morris of Yardley and Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward – aimed at developing an "inclusive" system of adult education. The line-up of the 14-strong panel has also been confirmed.

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Mr Corbyn will call on employers to match Labour's promised expansion of education through colleges, universities and trade unions by stepping up investment in the skills of their workforce.The education system, he will say, must be designed to get "the best out of everybody" while being "available to all".

"I strongly believe there should be genuine parity between vocational and academic education," he is expected to say.

"We have to end the outdated grammar school mentality of looking down on somebody who does a vocational course and looking up to somebody who does an academic course."

Vocational vs academic education

Mr Corbyn will argue the skills of electrical work, computing and design acquired through vocational courses should be seen as just as valuable as academic courses at a university.

"I remember from my own school days being told by my art teacher, who didn't appreciate some of my more abstract painting, 'You're no good at art, you can do woodwork instead,' as if woodwork was inferior," he is expected to say.

"In Germany, where they really value engineering, they say, 'You're a clever kid, get down the metal workshop.'"

The EEF is changing its name to Make UK.

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