Colleges could set up and run specialist vocational schools if the Conservatives win the next election, Damian Green, shadow education secretary, said this week.
He told his party's annual conference in Blackpool that the Tories would introduce vouchers to give parents greater choice. Vocational schools would be set up in areas where parents want an alternative to "academic" education, he said.
The Tories aim to bridge the gap in technical skills between the UK and other developed countries. They blame a lack of vocational education for 14 to 19-year-olds for the UK's poor staying-on rate and its slide down the international education league. "This country needs a vast expansion of technical schools, so that we can give a decent start in life to children with practical rather than academic abilities," he said.
Mr Green said that colleges were well placed to contribute to pupils'
vocational education and that he would "look favourably" on proposals from colleges to set up schools themselves.