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Parity of esteem

Academic and vocational education will never be equal. But vocational can be better

By Philip Collins   April 2005

With her first serious act as education secretary, Ruth Kelly was accused of wasting the chance to secure “parity of esteem” between vocational and academic courses by rejecting the Tomlinson review of the 14-19 curriculum. The absence of such parity is usually held to account for the fact that only four countries in the OECD have a worse record than Britain in keeping children in school beyond 16. But there is not a country in the world in which it applies. It is time we called a moratorium on “parity of esteem.”

The popularity of full-time vocational courses is falling…

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