Jim Knight, schools minister, said critics, who claim the practice is exploited by schools as a scam to climb league tables, were nimbys.
They were the equivalent of people who wanted the benefits of the wider roads the country needed, but wanted them nowhere near them.
In education the same thinking boiled down to Not Including My Bright Youngster. He said: "Some people continue to sneer at the value of practical education, criticising the inclusion of vocational qualifications in the school performance figures as if only one kind of education is important, and only one type of learning can lead to success."
Mr Knight was speaking at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust annual 14 to 19 conference.