Vocational education review looks bad for diplomas
09 Sep 2010
The announcement that Professor Alison Wolf will lead a government review into vocational education looks like bad news for the diplomas.
Professor Wolf is an independent and original thinker but she has a very clear pre-existing position on vocational education, so Michael Gove knows exactly what he's going to get from choosing her to lead the review (she is the second member of the family to be advising the government, since Wolf's daughter, Rachel, used to be a Tory education policy advisor and now runs the New Schools Network).
In particular, Professor Wolf believes that vocational education should be genuinely practical. She has been scathing about the hybrid approach of diplomas and their failure to deliver practical instruction alongside the academic element of the courses.
In the past, Wolf has described diplomas as 'devoid of educational purpose and coherence' . By contrast, Wolf is an enthusiast for high quality apprenticeships that also offer a route into higher education.
She is also a critic of bureaucratic structures and big government.
Professor Wolf's biography is here: www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/mgmt/people/academic/wolf/