Lord Baker has proposed a Technical Baccalaureate qualification, saying that there will be an “inevitable gap” if the UK was to have only an English Baccalaureate Certificate when it replaces GCSEs.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has introduced the English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBacc) in an effort to raise academic standards, but technical and creative subjects are absent from the EBacc framework proposed for launch in 2015.
Students will gain a full English Baccalaureate if they achieve a minimum grade in six core subjects, English, maths, two sciences from physics, biology and chemistry, geography or history and a language.
Former Secretary of State for Education Lord Baker said that “Michael Gove’s bold attempt to move up standards has resulted in technical and vocational subjects being cut out below the age of 16.”
Telling The Manufacturer that this “is not in interests of students,” Lord Baker has come up with an alternative whereby students aged over 14 are entitled to choose technical subjects, such as engineering, as part of a rigorous programme of study including English, maths and science.
The Tech Bacc, or the Baker Bacc as some have called it, would safeguard 15% of the curriculum between 14 and 16 for technical skills.
The introduction of a Technical Baccalaureate framework would allow students to take another subject, such as metalworking, design and technology, or engineering.
Lord Baker said that “there is a lot of choice being denied by having an EBacc without a technical element alongside it and that’s bad for British industry.”
The 78 year-old peer commented that technical skills have “been squeezed out of education” despite the yawning skills gaps facing manufacturers.
Lord Baker’s charity, the Baker-Dearing Educational Trust, developed the model of the University Technical Colleges, such as the JCB Academy, to try and reverse the decline in technical skills
He pointed to the success of the JCB Academy, “where after the inaugural academic year in 2012 every student either got a job or apprenticeship, a place at university or went on to college,” as a reason to keep technical skills in the curriculum by offering the Tech Bacc.
Lord Baker said that the worst 100 schools in the UK should be “closed immediately” so they could be relaunched as technical schools for 14- to 19-year-olds in September.