Bake me a cake as fast as you can…

Well, if his press-releases about his proposed New University Technological Colleges are anything to go by, it seems that nice Mr Kenneth Lord Baker has finally got the message about the need for high-quality, well-regarded, work-related education.

The [new university technical colleges] will develop high-level technical skills for 14 to 19-year-olds, developed in conjunction with employers and universities. “We’re desperately short of technicians. If we want to have nuclear power station, fast broadband across the country and high-speed trains, we haven’t got the technicians to do it. We’ve got to train the technicians.” The UTCs will seek to bridge the gap between vocational and academic education, with a curriculum including both technical work-based training and core academic lessons in English and maths.

What a pity it didn’t all dawn on Lord Baker when he was Education Secretary in 1988 defining the structure of the academically-biased National Curriculum. And why are the new colleges being developed in conjunction with universities? And why make the teaching of English and Maths academic when applied English and maths would be far more useful? And why does it all read rather like a sound-bite from the 1960s?

Of course the old argument against the scheme is that the courses will be seen as more appropriate for those from a working-class background and will consequently deny them the benefits of a traditional academic education:

Mind you, here’s another study that thinks that choices should be made at 14 instead of 16

And I wonder what Mr Gove thinks about Mr Baker’s proposals? Will it prove to be a case of too many cooks?

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