The article argues that the problem is poor career advice for those that do not stay on in full time education post-16
"Social mobility in Britain is hampered by a “culture of inequality” that penalises school leavers who enter the workforce rather than higher education, according to a parliamentary report.
An investigation by the House of Lords committee on social mobility called for radical revisions to the content of schooling from the age of 14, to better prepare teenagers who do not go on to university for the world of work.
“The current system for helping people move from school to work is failing most young people,” said Lady Corston, who chaired the committee. “They are simply not being adequately prepared for the world of work. This significantly disadvantages a huge number of young people and limits their opportunity for social mobility.”
So we are back to streaming school students at 14. This is a popular but very bad idea. It assumes that a school student who identifies as 'not academic' at age 14 has permanently restricted academic potential. It is the tacit assumption of fixed intelligence conferred at birth. See this article about 'Plastic Intelligence'.
School students should not be making irrevocable career choices at 14. How many people have the same ambitions at 18 or 21 that they had in the second term of Y9 when these decisions are presumably to be made?
Janet Downs points out the dangers of UTCs here
It does not require separate vocational colleges for this very bad idea to infect our school system. 11-18 schools could indeed divide their pupils into separate academic and vocational streams at 14 or even earlier as seems to the suggestion. I am a fan of banded admissions driven by CATs, as in Hackney, but not if the bands are used to designate students as academic or vocational streams.
However the 14-18 baccalaureate idea has many sound educational attractions but only on the basis of a radically different approach to the structure and assessment of four-year linear courses.
A new KS4/5 must be both developmental and inspirational. A student may, in the course of personal development, be inspired to choose a completely different career and life-path to that which she envisaged in March/April of Y9. Section 5.7 of 'Learning Matters' contains some very radical ideas about how this could fit into a 14-18 curricum.
The weakest part of the argument suggests that there is something wrong with our school students rather than with fundamental aspects of our economy that result in the creation of really horrible, low skilled, low productivity jobs, doing little to protect and expand those parts of the economy that do provide high skilled, well payed jobs. The Port Talbot steelworks crisis of April 2016 is just the latest example.
This article about the prospects for school leavers in 1936, at the height of the great depression, shows how much worse the prospects for many of our school leavers have become since then!