Labour aims to introduce a Technical Baccalaureate for 16-18 year olds if the party forms the next government. The announcement was made as part of Labour’s £50m education manifesto.
Announced during a speech at Haverstock School in London, the party's leader Ed Miliband said the Technical Baccalaureate will be an employer-led, vocational qualification and will include English, maths and work experience.
He also said apprenticeships should be available to every school leaver who obtains enough grades. The apprenticeships, said Miliband, would be increased to last a minimum of two years and will be at a level-three standard (equivalent to A-level standard).
According to the manifesto, technical degrees will also be unveiled and the party will back new institutes of technical education.
Miliband said the £50m manifesto would be funded and supported through a partnership between universities, schools, colleges and employers.
He said: “Indeed the biggest challenge we face is preparing our young people for the economy of the future, not of yesterday. In the 21st century, world-class education isn’t a luxury for the individual. It’s a necessity.
“We need an education system that brings out the talents of every single person. We will ensure equal respect right across the curriculum, vocational, academic and creative subjects.”
The manifesto also presented plans to ensure all children in state schools are taught by “high-quality qualified teachers”.
Read more about IT education
- TCS, MyKindCrowd and Tech Partnership release education pack for teachers to educate young people on the range of careers in tech
- The annual BETT show has proved to be a platform for both main political parties to talk up their support for wider use of ICT in education
- The BBC has launched a digital-first initiative to teach children to use programming and digital technologies, starting by giving one million coding devices to schools across the UK
The report’s introduction said: “We are now facing a serious shortage of teachers, particularly in Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] subjects, with record numbers leaving the profession and fewer joining.
“So we will value and support teaching as a profession, with requirements on standards and more opportunities for teachers to train and progress in their careers.”
In its manifesto, Labour said it will create a master teacher status and establish a college of teaching, for teachers to build on their knowledge.
The party said it will also issue a “call to arms” for 200,000 qualified teachers who have previously left the profession to come back to state schools.
“We now have 17,000 unqualified teachers in our classrooms, when all the evidence is that qualified teachers are best. The government proposes to do nothing about it. We will put an end to it, demanding that all teachers work towards qualified teacher status," said Miliband.
“We will support the teachers to learn new skills and develop their talent. We will create a new status of master teacher to which they can aspire. And we will stop denigrating the profession.”
Face-to-face careers advice and work experience
Labour also said it would guarantee face-to-face advice from careers advisers for children from age 11.
"With plans to make all schools accountable for their careers advice, Labour also plans to reverse the coalition government’s decision to scrap compulsory work experience for 14- to 16-year-olds," said Miliband.
"Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge and the right advice they need to succeed. Failure to do this will not only cheat our young people of a decent future, it will cheat our country too."
He added: “If we are to restore the promise of Britain, we need to equip all our children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed with excellence from the first steps a child takes to the day they stride into the adult world: education today for the economy of tomorrow.”
The report also said the Labour Party would cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds to 30.