The standard of vocational courses currently taught in UK secondary schools is not satisfactory, according to a new Ofsted report entitled ‘Economics, Business and Enterprise Education’.
Ofsted’s main issue concerns whether the current vocational courses are of a high enough standard to be considered as equivalent to GCSE’s. In Ofsted’s opinion, the answer to that particular question is a definite no, with the study stating:
“Evidence from lesson observations, scrutiny of written work and discussion with students brings into question the case for claiming that such courses are equivalent to between two and four single-award, traditionally examined GCSEs at Key Stage 4.”
The key conclusion made in the Ofsted report is that the vocational courses being taught by publicly funded schools and colleges today are too focused on making sure students pass exams, rather than giving them the all-round business experience and understanding they require to succeed in the workplace. This has led to, in the reports words, ‘narrow and simplistic’ courses which enable students to achieve top marks without demonstrating a high level of knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Following the report, Ofsted’s chief inspector Christine Gilbert said:
“Vocational qualifications provide a valuable route to employment and further study for many learners. However, the report highlights the need to review the equivalency of vocational business qualifications that are assessed wholly or mainly by internally set and marked assignments with more traditional GCSEs and A-levels.”
The report highlights the importance of vocational courses providing students with practical, real-world experience that can be used in the workplace. That’s why all of our plumbing courses, electrician training courses and gas courses include practical on-the-job experience as well as all the necessary theoretical knowledge to make sure students are prepared for the workplace. Our courses are all industry accredited meaning that our trainees are more likely to get gainful employment than those that aren’t.