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In response to the Wolf report Michael Gove has announced that young people will be required to stay on in school and study English and maths until they have reached a minimum grade C at GCSE.

In response to the Wolf report Michael Gove has announced that young people will be required to stay on in school and study English and maths until they have reached a minimum grade C at GCSE.

Whilst no one would argue that literacy and numeracy are not of enormous importance for both young people and employers, we nevertheless need to revisit this ‘back to basics’ focus which has dominated education for successive governments.

So much recent educational policy has been founded on the idea that you need to get the ‘basics’ right before you can think about young people’s more holistic development or more innovative and creative teaching and learning practice. Linked to this the testing regime and schools league tables have increased the use of didactic teaching methods and the drilling of young people to pass exams. Not a recipe for providing an engaging education!

]There is a need to bridge the binary divide between academic vs. vocational and knowledge vs. skills and to balance these important aspects of education.

This is something the RSA has sought through the development and practice of its Opening Minds competence framework, designed to fuse knowledge and practical skills development.

Let’s hope that the overhaul of vocational qualifications brings some much needed improvement for both young people and employers.

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