“It’s hardly surprising that two-thirds of youngsters who didn’t achieve benchmark GCSE grades in English and maths at 16 didn’t achieve those grades two years later. And it’s no good the FE sector complaining about that, they should damn well get off their backsides and work harder to get them those GCSEs," said Sir Michael Wilshaw this week.
Sir Michael was on the panel of the latest in the debate series "What if..." hosted by the Institute of Education and supported by Tes. Joining him to debate the divide between academic and vocational education, and what we could do to improve it (and if we actually want to improve it), were Mary Curnock Cook, former chief executive of UCAS and current chair of governors, Kensington and Chelsea College, Tony Little, chief academic officer at Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) and former head master of Eton, Alison Fuller, professor of vocational education and work and pro-director for research and development at the UCL Institute of Education. Professor Becky Francis, director of the IOE, chaired.