Economic Policy and Vocational Training in the United Kingdom

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This paper explores vocational education in the United Kingdom as compared to other European nations. Reasons for current level of investment in education of 16 year old students who 'stay on' vs. those who leave school and go directly into work are examined.


In comparison to other countries in the European Union the United Kingdom lags in literacy and numeracy rates. At age 16 the 'staying on' rate for students transitioning into vocational education is below desired rates with the majority of students not 'staying on' being from poorer or minority families. The United Kingdom's attempt to change the course of decline in educational outcomes has met with limited success.
The United Kingdom has made three major policy changes that should affect literacy rates and staying on rates. The U.K. has chosen to lengthen the compulsory education mandate from 5 to 16 to 5 to 18. The U.K. has also mandated a 'literacy hour' each day where students and teachers focus only on literacy education. The United Kingdom has also mandated that public schools follow the National Curriculum so that all students are educated using the same standards. The desired outcome of these changes are higher literacy rates, increased staying on rates, and standardization of curriculum across the U.K.
The long term outcomes of policy changes would ideally give the United Kingdom a competitive advantage in the E.U. marketplace. If the United Kingdom continues with current trends businesses in the U.K. may look elsewhere in the E.U. for qualified workers thus taking business away from the U.K.
The end of World War Two and the creation of the European Union have brought changes to how children are educated in th ...
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