By Dr Richard Wilson –
The problem with continuous revolution is that nothing changes.
The quality and provision of some of our vocational education has been a persistent weakness of the UK economy. Unfortunately, our ability to address this deficiency has been undermined by continuous chopping, changing and churning in vocational education policy.
As the Institute of Government points out in a new report (All Change: Why Britain is Prone to Policy Reinvention and What can be Done About it out), since the 1980s there have been 28 different pieces of legislation concerning skills, vocational training and Further Education. During this period the UK has had 48 different Secretaries of State with responsibility for education and the sector has been overseen by six different ministerial departments. No organisation overseeing FE has endured more than a decade.
Continuous change leads to a loss of corporate memory, a lack of consistency in policy and long term skill weaknesses.
As the UK moves towards Brexit it is crucially important that our vocational qualifications (including the new T-Levels) are robust and durable, our FE sector supported and our education and skills policy consistent. We should be open and welcome to incremental reform to promote improvements, but we need an end to continuous revolution.