Britain Looks to Reinvigorate Apprenticeships, Vocational Education

Education News – Raymond Scott

“State schools in England will soon be required to spend as much time on vocational training as they do on academic subjects for students interested in landing an apprenticeship after their studies. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that England’s education system should “level the playing field” by offering students all the options available to them. A new law will require the schools allow apprenticeship providers to advise and connect with young students to rub out an “outdated snobbery” against technical education.”(more)

UK’s interest in China boosted by latest BBC TV series

China Daily USA – Samantha Vadas

“A new six-part television series celebrating stories of China’s ancient history has begun showing on the UK’s public broadcasting service, BBC Two. Written and presented by British historian, Professor Michael Wood, ‘The Story of China’ explores the development of Chinese civilization over more than four thousand years. “China is the country we all want to know about today, and if you want to understand China you have to know about its history,” Wood told China Daily. “People have such set ideas about China, all you see on the news is high rise, mass industry, Gucci and Armani and yet what you don’t realize is the amazing vitality, energy and diversity of the culture, and our job is to try and unfold that.”…’The Story of China’ series debuted just six months after a ground-breaking three-part documentary on Chinese education which sparked a heated debate in China and the UK…It also created a three-week long social media frenzy about varying education systems in both Britain and China.”(more)

‘iPad generation’ means nine in 10 toddlers live couch potato lives

The Telegraph – Laura Donnelly

“Just one in ten of the “iPad generation” of toddlers are active enough to be healthy, official Government data shows. Experts said Britain is “in the grip of an inactivity crisis” with two-year-olds spending increasing amounts of time hunched over gadgets, instead of moving about and playing traditional games…Health experts called for radical changes to the habits of today’s toddlers, warning that many were mimicking parents who spend much of their leisure time on tablets and smartphones…Government guidelines recommend that under-fives should undertake at least three hours of physical activity per day, in order to support brain, bone and muscular development, as well as encourage good habits for life. For those aged five to 15, the recommended minimum is one hour of moderately intensive activity a day.”(more)

The Rise of American-Style Charter Schools in England

The Atlantic – Richard Garner

“Without a doubt, the biggest change to the educational landscape in England over the next few years will be the growth of so-called academies and free schools, both modeled at least in part on U.S. charter schools…Some of the free schools are remarkably innovative. They include bilingual primary schools, oases in a desert of poor language provision throughout the U.K. education system.”(more)

Learn a language in 2016, Britons are urged

BBC – Katherine Sellgren

“As the New Year beckons, the British Council is calling on people in the UK to make learning a foreign language their resolution for 2016…Higher Education Statistics Agency data released in February showed that entries to modern foreign language degree courses had dropped…Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council, said: “The UK is currently facing a shortfall in people who can speak foreign languages…More than that, the benefits of learning one are huge – from boosting job prospects to acquiring the ability to understand and better connect with another culture. If the UK is to remain competitive on the international stage, we need far more of us to develop our language skills.””(more)

Pulling together to bridge the skills gap

The Telegraph – Sean Hargrave

“Anyone in business who has tried to hire a skilled worker will understand that when it comes to qualified, experienced staff, the demand often outpaces supply. The barrier to business growth this represents is acknowledged by the government, which surveys companies every two years to quantify the challenged posed by the skills gap. According to the latest figures for 2013, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), one in five vacancies are difficult to fill because of a shortage of skills…Typically the roles are in science, technology and engineering – the subject areas that industry folk believe schools can do more to encourage children to study, as they are most in demand by employers.”(more)