Original ideas come round again

14th December 2012 at 00:00

I am an FE dinosaur, which means I have seen many changes over the years. For example, I remember post-war technical schools, which linked to technical colleges and catered for pupils aged 14 and above. I also remember the link courses of the 1970s, where school pupils attended colleges for vocational studies. They were at the colleges for one or two days a week.

I have also been party to lengthy discussions about the battle for vocational, as opposed to academic, subjects. These discussions were associated with a variety of qualifications that came and went as they were not "academic" enough, although they catered for the specific needs of many students. The academics always seemed to win.

Each week, TES reports on some new idea hailed by principals as an exciting original development. Perhaps they, the politicians and others should use the Christmas break to read about the history of further education since 1945 and learn from the past. The politicians should also learn to not fall into the trap of thinking that education is simply about preparing people for university.

Owen Gray, Derbyshire.

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