Lab 2012: Miliband unveils vision to inspire the “forgotten 50 per cent”

At the Labour Party Conference today, Ed Miliband will set out big reforms in education and apprenticeships to address the needs of the “forgotten 50 per cent”.


Ed Miliband will set out big reforms in education and apprenticeships today to address the needs of the “forgotten 50 per cent” so the nation can unite together to “rebuild Britain” and overcome the economic crisis.

In his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester this afternoon he will education reform at the heart of a future Labour government, warning Britain will not succeed if we have an education system which works for only half the country.

He will also outline major reforms to vocational education, setting out a new approach to increase the number of apprenticeships to utilise the talents of the “forgotten 50 per cent” who don’t go to university.

Miliband’s reforms to secondary education include:

• Offering a clear vocational route to a gold standard qualification at 18 called a Technical Baccalaureate;

• Insisting all young people study English and Maths to 18 as a strict condition for the award of Tech Baccs;

• Transforming business engagement in schools, involving them in the design of vocational qualifications while ensuring anyone studying for a Tech Bacc successfully complete a programme of work experience.

While the reforms to apprenticeships include:

• Giving businesses control over government funding of £1 billion to spend on apprenticeships as well as more say in setting the standards for qualifications;

• Ensuring groups of larger businesses – coming together in regions, sectors and supply chains – have the powers they need to deliver the increased number of apprenticeships Britain needs to rebuild. These bodies will work with employees, unions and training providers;

• Introducing a new Fast Track for apprentices, matching the Fast Stream for graduates, into the civil service;

• Making it a requirement for all large firms with government contracts to provide apprenticeships.

Contrasting his vision to that of the coalition, he concludes:

Think about the alternative agenda from this government. Michael Gove will drive us further apart. He wants to introduce two tier academic exams at 16.

“He’s wrong because I remember what it was like at my school when we had two types of academic exams: O-levels and CSEs. It just wrote a whole set of people off. We don’t want to go back to that.

“He has got contempt for vocational qualifications. He even got rid of those like the engineering diploma that had the support of business. And he has nothing to say about education beyond 16. He is stuck in the past, offering no vision for the 21st century.

“There is a choice of two futures for education. The Tory plan for an education system designed for a narrower and narrower elite. Or our plan.”

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