Wolf Report welcomed by NIACE

14 March 2011

NIACE welcomes two major recommendations of the independent Wolf Report into vocational education for 14-19 year olds – Review of Vocational Education – published on Thursday 3 March.

The first will contribute to the strengthening of apprenticeships and the second – which has already been accepted by Education Secretary and commissioner of the independent report, Michael Gove – will help create a level professional playing field between schools and further education, giving young people access to serious professional expertise.

Peter Lavender, Deputy Chief Executive at NIACE, said:

“For a long time we have wanted to see parity of esteem between school teachers, with qualified teacher status and further education teachers (qualified teacher in learning and skills). The Institute for Learning has been tireless in taking this forward and will be pleased. Gove’s acceptance of this recommendation is a break-through; let’s hope there are no caveats. Is this the start of the long uphill climb to properly value the role of further education?”

Alastair Thomson, Principal Policy and Advocacy Officer and NIACE, added:

“Of course Professor Alison Wolf’s report is limited to provision for 14-19 year olds preparing to enter the labour market for the first time. It would be unfortunate if necessary reforms for this cohort of young people were to distort the important and different role vocational qualifications play for people changing career, seeking labour market mobility or starting a learning journey as an adult.”

“Those whose initial schooling failed to instil a habit of lifelong learning are often motivated to return to education through vocationally-oriented courses. However modest a qualification is, it acts as an affirmation of worth and recognition of achievement – even when there’s no immediate return in terms of the pay packet. It can also help transform people’s sense of self-belief and agency. Instilling a culture of learning brings wider public benefits in terms of family life, health and civic engagement, as well as the private gains of improved personal effectiveness.”