Last month, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary announced the EBacc covering academic subjects including English and Maths to be awarded at 16. From 16, young people can either continue on an academic pathway – progressing to A levels – or enter a vocational pathway – taking high quality vocational qualifications.
The vocational response to the EBacc has been the Tech Bacc. But for a large swathe of expert opinion, from Alison Wolf to Labour peer Lord Adonis, the Tech Bacc and vocational education start at 16 as an equivalent to reformed GCSE re-sits and A levels.
Conservative peer, Lord Baker, has long advocated access to vocational education from 14 rather than 16. At Labour’s party conference last week, he was joined by Ed Miliband.