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14-18 - A New Vision for Secondary Education


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Table of Contents

Preface Kenneth Baker 1. Transforming 14-18 Education, Kenneth Baker 2. A New Vision for Education in England, Kenneth Baker 3. The 14-18 Pathways, Kenneth Baker 4. The Qualifications, Mike Tomlinson 5. Making 14-18 Education a Reality, Alan Smithers 6. Pathways, Not Tracks: An American Perspective, Robert B. Schwartz 7. Structure and the Individual: An Independent School Perspective, Andrew Halls 8. Education on a Human Scale: A Middle School Perspective, David Brandon-Bravo 9. Learning from Others, David Harbourne Summary of Recommendations, Kenneth Baker Appendix I. Technical Secondary Education in England: A Brief History, David Harbourne Appendix II. The History and Strengths of English Middle Schools, Nigel Wyatt Glossary References Index

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Leading educational authorities offer a vision for the future of secondary education which will take account of young people's emerging interests, talents and ambitions.

About the Author

Kenneth Baker is Chairman of the Edge Foundation, which champions technical, practical and vocational education, and of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which is establishing a new network of University Technical Colleges in all regions of England. He was elected to Parliament in 1968 and was a Junior Minister in Edward Heath's government. He held a series of Ministerial positions between 1981 and 1992, including three years as Secretary of State for Education and Science (1986-9). He was Home Secretary from 1990 to 1992. In 1997, he became Lord Baker of Dorking and is an active member of the House of Lords. Mike Tomlinson is a leading educationalist and chaired the Working Group on 14-19 Reform which reported to the Department for Education and Skills in 2004. Alan Smithers is Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, UK. Robert B. Schwartz is Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, USA. Andrew Halls is Headmaster of King's College School, Wimbledon, UK. David Brandon-Bravo is Headteacher at Parkfields Middle School, Toddington, UK. David Harbourne is Director of Policy and Research at the Edge Foundation, UK, an independent education charity dedicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning. Nigel Wyatt is Executive Officer of the National Middle School Forum, UK.


Together with a handful of educationalists and teachers, Baker has written a new book - 14-18: A New Vision for Secondary Education - which proposes a radical transformation of secondary-school education. He would like primary school to end at nine, followed by middle school to the age of 14, at which point the national curriculum would end and every pupil would choose one of four "pathways". This is not a sentence I would have imagined myself writing back at the height of Thatcherism, when Baker was most lefty teenagers' idea of the devil, but I think he has probably come up with an excellent plan...Perhaps even more importantly, his proposals attempt to remedy the impending anomaly of our preoccupation with exams at 16, which will make very little sense once the school-leaving age goes up to 18 in 2015...Given the new leaving age of 18, Baker's ideas make a great deal of sense. -- Decca Aitkenhead * The Guardian *
Kenneth Baker makes a valuable contribution to the debate about the value of vocational education in his new book...The case is made for practical, technical and vocational options to be available to young people of all abilities. Read it and engage in the debate. -- Helen Hill * The Teacher *
This book may represent a significant milestone in the realignment of English debates about 14-18 or 14-19 education, and possibly a new consensus in the middle ground. -- David Raffe, University of Edinburgh * British Journal of Education Studies *
This brings the much welcome blast of rationality into the education debate and undercuts almost everything being said by politicians. It is full of serious, sensible proposals for ways of making education better for everyone. * Michael Rosen, author and broadcaster, UK *
14-18 is highly persuasive, both in its analysis of how we got here and in its route map for where we go next. After half a century of obsessive tinkering with our schools, I'm convinced that it's time for the last, best reform... Kenneth Baker and his allies show how it could work brilliantly for everyone. * Ferdinand Mount, author of The New Few and former head of the Downing Street Policy Unit, UK *
Apart from minor changes, such as the merging of CSE and O-level in 1988, the system of public examinations in England is essentially unchanged since the abolition of the School Certificate in 1951. As participation in education beyond compulsory schooling has increased, our existing system of assessments has become unfit for purpose, with examinations at 16 in particular being an increasingly irrelevant punctuation mark in young people's education. In this thought-provoking book, a number of people who have thought about these issues deeply-and for a considerable amount of time-provide insightful analyses into the problems of the current system, and well-conceived solutions about how we could do better. Anyone interested in what's wrong with our 14-18 curriculum, and what we can do about it, should read this book. * Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment, University of London, UK *
14-18 - A New Vision for Secondary Education is not just an outstanding guide for education in the UK. It is a "must read" for those of us in the USA who share the vision of secondary education that leads to both post-secondary and career readiness. The contributors to this book make a powerful case for secondary education that prepares students for the dynamic world they are entering. The National Academy Foundation is honored to be among those in the USA who share the vision described in this book and believe that both of our countries will learn from each other as we evolve our respective programmes. * J. D. Hoye, President, National Academy Foundation, USA *
Kenneth Baker is a force of nature and this book graphically describes his odyssey in changing the face of education. * Anthony Seldon, Headmaster, Wellington College, UK *
Policy makers and educators should read and learn from this book. Lord Baker has, with the help of a galaxy of writers, assembled a compelling argument for a new pattern of schooling. He persuades the reader that 14 is the right age for young people to make a choice of either academic or technical education, with both routes holding equal rigour and status. This indeed is one of the most important books on education for a decade and more. * Pauline Perry, Chair of the Conservative Back-Bench Education Group, House of Lords, UK *
14-18: A New Vision for Secondary Education makes a timely contribution to re-energising the debate on vocational education and reminds us of the importance of returning to key issues about age appropriate core curriculum and student choice in determining the shape of our future educational structures. The commentators, who come from a range of political, academic and professional educator backgrounds, relay the personal and professional experiences that have shaped their perspectives alongside an analysis of past education reforms and the consequences for our young people and our economy. Importantly, the book highlights international evidence that must inform any debate about how we raise the achievement of all our young people. The conclusions drawn in relation to the national curriculum; age of transfer and 14-18 pathways linked to employability deserve to be debated more widely. At a time when we rightly acknowledge the importance of individual schools and inspirational teachers to young people's success, it is a reminder of the importance of the design of the overall education system and the need to rethink how schools interconnect and how young people can have real curriculum choice to drive personal achievement. * Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor and CEO, University of Northampton, UK *
This is a hugely important book on education and skills policy. Kenneth Baker sets out a vision and a blueprint for 14-18 education, with technical education at its heart as it should be. It ought to be required reading for school and college leaders and policy-makers. * Andrew Adonis, former Minister for Education, UK *
The rapidly changing dynamics of the global economy are forcing industrialized nations everywhere to rethink the design of secondary education, to adjust the balance between theory and practice, what is required and what is optional, what is clearly academic and what is decidedly vocational. This is as thoughtful a discussion of these issues as I have seen anywhere. * Marc Tucker, President, National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), USA *
Former Secretary of State for Education Kenneth Baker and his seven colleagues take on a big topic in this small book: the reform of secondary education in England. In 168 pages, they offer historical sketches, snapshots of current practices, and persuasive proposals for the future. Running throughout the book is an urgent plea for better vocational and technical education [...] If enough people share the engagement of Kenneth Baker and his thoughtful colleagues-if they truly believe that vocational and technical students deserve the very best-then secondary education in England has a bright future. -- Robert Hampel * Teacher's College Record *

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