Politics is in a mess.
By Ralph Lucas
I do not predict an early resolution.
Even when politics is not in a mess, vocational skills rarely get the attention they deserve - and when they do get attention, it tends to be junking all that has been achieved and starting again from scratch.
My advice to employers is to make the best of what you have got - and the best of what we have got is undoubtedly degree apprenticeships.
They have been going long enough now for us to know that, done well, degree apprentices are a big plus for an employer.
- From quite early on, they are net contributors to the business
- Clients like them
- Older employees (most of them) love working with them: "I was working my way wearily through my last ten years to retirement, now each day is a delight" (to quote a Capgemini manager).
- The university course make sense to them - they are in the middle of a relevant real life - and they learn well.
- At the end of the course they are part of your family, and most of them want to stay that way.
You have to put thought and effort into pastoral care, and recruiting, though: your standard systems will not work well.
Graduate apprentices are coming to you straight from home: they have not had the exposure to three years on their own that university graduates have. They need looking after.
The decision to take up your apprenticeship is being taken by young people who have never had a job, surrounded by people who have only ever been teachers, with parents looking over their shoulders. The information that you provide, and how you provide it, need to be tailored to the audience.
We think that this results in a set of HR jobs that are a lot more rewarding than average.
And you get to use lots of your levy - which is also rewarding
Bernadette John, our Director of Special Educational Needs, despairs at yet another pointless idea from The Department of Education. The school admissions system is, apparently, now taking the blame for the lack of social mobility which is blighting opportunities and depriving the nation of much-needed talent.
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One criticism of grammar schools is that they take a disproportionate number of children from privileged backgrounds. A far smaller number of grammar school pupils receive the pupil premium than pupils in comprehensive schools.
Buttle UK is a charity which supports disadvantaged children. One of its more imaginative and bolder initiatives has been to fund places at boarding schools for children who are thought likely to benefit from the opportunities this would provide. The project has been sensitively designed so as not to create divisions between children and their own families and social milieu.
The initial furore over National Offer Day is over - although, of course, the next one - Primary School Offer Day - is only six weeks away and we'll have to go through the whole miserable experience again. We, at The Good Schools Guide, along with everyone else, get worked up on behalf of children who are not allocated their first choice school or, far more worrying, children who get offered none of their six choices. It isn't good enough and shouldn't be happening.