'Transitional classes' required to bridge academic and vocational gap, says Martin Doel

Professor Martin Doel said the "specific classes" would be needed if the Sainsbury review of technical education was to be a success

News article image

Specific classes to support young people making the transition between the academic and the vocational routes suggested by the Sainsbury Review will be required if the system is to be a success, Professor Martin Doel has said.

Speaking at the International Education Symposium at City of Glasgow College yesterday, Mr Doel, the former Association of Colleges chief executive and FETL professor of leadership in further education and skills at University College London said many of those criticising the review, which was published this summer and recommended two distinct educational pathways  – academic and technical – were getting too focused on the detail of the recommendations, and losing sight of the fundamental changes proposed.

“Most people are heading straight for the detail,” Mr Doel said. “They step past the fundamental thing that has changed here, which is to define a technical route and an academic route.”

He added with the review allowing students to move between the different pathways, this meant support had to be offered. “You need bridging content,” he said, explaining this was in acknowledgement of the different learning and teaching styles.

“It is about mutual respect of a different form of learning and a different way of approaching things.”

'A government requirement'

One of the main ways in which young people move from college to university in Scotland is through articulation – a process where students can enter the second or even third year of a degree programme on the basis of the Higher National qualifications they have gained at college. Mr Doel said bridging provision would also a way to support students entering a new environment.

“If an academic institution accepts you from a vocational route, it should be respectful of where you come from and support you and facilitate you. And it should be a government requirement to enable you and fund you to make that transition.”

FE SPECIAL OFFER: click here to try out a TES Further Education subscription for just £1 for four weeks.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES FE News on Twitter, like us on Facebook and follow us on LinkedIn

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you