Monday, 11 February 2019

Academic and Vocational

Ever since the school leaving age went up to 18, which the Votes At 16 lot appears not to have noticed has happened, then I have been wondering what the remaining point of GCSEs was supposed to be.

Getting rid of A-levels, however, is a far more contentious proposition. “Academic and vocational,” you say? Well, as long as the “academic” really were academic. And as long as the “vocational” really were vocational.

With the Build It In Britain programme, the National Investment Bank, the Regional Development Banks, and the Universal Basic Income, the National Education Service proposed by Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner is pretty much my dream policy. In Rayner’s inspiring words:

The sum of human knowledge is the fruit of thousands of years of human labour. The discoveries of maths and science; the great works of literature and art; the arc of human and natural history itself; and so much more that there is to learn. All of it should be our common inheritance. Because knowledge belongs to the many, not the few. This is our historic purpose as a movement. Not just to be a voice for the voiceless. But to give them a voice of their own.

Within that, I would work with all my might to ensure that apprentices and trainees enjoyed the same benefits as were enjoyed by their peers in further and higher education, and vice versa, while promoting the understanding that we either funded higher education all the way up to doctoral level or we charged fees at every stage (with a very strong preference for the former), and while guaranteeing that the training and other standards for the private sector to match were set by national and municipal public ownership, itself reformed towards greater democracy and accountability.

Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email Very many thanks.

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