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It’s time to change our exam system and focus on what matters for our students

I write this as students across the country are preparing to pick up their GCSE grades, including my son. I have huge respect for them all and the hard work that they have put in to prepare and sit their exams. I wish them all the very best. My comments here are certainly not to criticise their efforts. An article in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) in April struck me hard. Only three in 10 heads think GCSEs prepare pupils for work highlights recent research by Ofqual that demonstrate how poorly the core of our…

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UTCs at the cutting edge

Recent estimates suggest that some 70% of engineers in the UK will be reaching retirement age in the next 10 years. This is a frightening figure, especially as we need to compete with other countries with younger workforces. The University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research estimates that engineering companies will require 265,000 skilled entrants every year through to 2024, and of these about 186,000 will be qualified engineers. This is not just to replace those who retire but also to upskill young people for future projects as we develop new and greener sources of…

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This Is Social Mobility

If you have ever heard me speak at an event, attended an open evening or pretty much sat through any meeting with me you will know the reason I am so passionate about what I do is that I see this as the way to affect change. For me, my role is about social mobility. So I get really excited when I get the chance to get into the detail on this. I get even more excited when I can say here are metrics, collected and analysed centrally, understood by parents, by newspapers, by politicians…

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What’s the point of a UTC education?

University Technical Colleges are set up as a fascinating collaboration between businesses, universities and school education. The idea is brilliant and echoes the success of the technical education system in Germany and Austria. However, it isn’t a very comfortable place to sit; we are state funded – which brings huge pressures in itself – and need to comply with all of the school standards while the demands of employers are high and we have recently arrived in communities and the local education system who don’t immediately understand what we are here for. So it’s important…

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