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Secondary education needs to motivate, engage and stimulate every child, says AoC

06 June 2024

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Responding to the IFS report, ‘The state of education: what awaits the next government?’, David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said:

“This IFS report highlights why the next government needs to change the secondary school system so that it motivates, engages and stimulates every child.

"The current system has been failing children from the poorest households now for 20 years, with large numbers of 16-year-olds ending up in colleges who are expected to offer the same recipe of GCSEs in English and maths when what is clearly needed is something different.

"For many students, their ambition is to get into work by learning something practical, technical and vocational. For them, their time at college is the first real opportunity they have had to learn something that engages and motivates them, but they are then dismayed at the need to also resit exams they thought they were free of.

“That's why we have called for real opportunities to learn in colleges for more 14 to 16-year-olds, alongside a slightly smaller suite of GCSEs, and for pupil premium to extend to the age of 18 so that their college learning can be properly funded.

“It’s imperative that the next government takes decisive action to tackle these challenges in education, and that any policy put forward considers young people at all stages of the education system, rather than just those in schools.”

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A full A-Z of further education can be found here, and a cheat sheet of key policies and issues in FE can be found here.