An Absence of Policy: Vocational education and special educational needs

Atkins, Liz (2013) An Absence of Policy: Vocational education and special educational needs. In: 10th JVET Conference: Researching Policy and Practice in Vocational Education and Training, 5-7 July 2013, Oxford, UK.

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Vocational programmes at the lowest levels have been subject to significant criticism, not least from Government sponsored reports both before and after the last election (eg. Working Group on 14-19 reform, 2004; Wolf 2011). The Coalition government has, in common with earlier administrations, focussed policy initiatives on higher level and higher status vocational education. This paper explores the tension between this reality and the rhetoric of inclusion which forms much of the narrative of education policy. It considers this in the context of the implications of vocational education policy for the most marginalised young people: those with special educational needs and the poorest post- 16 outcomes, who are engaged with vocational education at its lowest levels and who are ambivalently positioned between mainstream education and special educational provision. The paper suggests that whilst some recent policy initiatives, such as the introduction of University Technical Colleges and the proposed ‘Technical Baccalaureate’ may be successful in raising the esteem of some types of specialised vocational education, they will also reinforce different degrees of exclusion and in/equalities within vocational education. It concludes that broad vocational courses at lower levels, held in low esteem and conferring little or no educational advantage, are likely to persist in the absence of any proposals for a meaningful alternative.
Finally, it calls for concerted action in terms of both research and curriculum development to which could lead to more meaningful education at this level.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2015 10:59
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:31

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