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Parents showing greater knowledge of vocational routes, survey finds

Parents want to see more practical teaching in schools and support the idea of technical degrees combining academic and vocational study, according to a new survey published today.

To mark its tenth anniversary educational charity the Edge Foundation polled more than 1,000 parents of teenagers to gauge their views about vocational education.

More than three quarters say they want young people to get a ‘baccalaureate’ style certificate at 18 summing up their achievements in both academic and practical subjects. Seventy per cent support technical degrees for young people who want to combine academic study and hands-on work.

Although parents still know more about academic options, the survey shows their knowledge of vocational routes is improving, with greater recognition of NVQs and apprenticeships than a previous survey in 2008.

More than half think more practical teaching should be done in schools, with less than one fifth saying that their child likes to learn in a purely academic way, while two thirds believe every young person should study at least one vocational subject at school.

Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, said: “We are encouraged that views are slowly changing around technical, practical and vocational education. We hope our research provides interesting food for thought for policy-makers as they start to shape their manifestos.  

“Parents are keenly aware of the challenges facing young people today. Blending academic and practical subjects is an attractive option both in school and beyond. That's been Edge’s message since we started ten years ago, and parents agree.”

Skills Minister Nick Boles said it was the government’s ambition that every young people leaving school or college views university and apprenticeships as different but equally valid routes to a successful career.

“Our reforms to improve the rigour of apprenticeships and their responsiveness to the needs of employers mean that they are now a respected and rewarding route in to the world of work,” he said.

“It is greatly encouraging to see the Edge Foundation’s research that shows a growing awareness of the wealth of education and training opportunities available today.”

Related stories

'Reinvigorate' practical learning in schools to tackle Neets, says charity – October 2014 

Vocational education research centre to be launched – October 2014

Labour proposes new 'technical degrees' – July 2014


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