New year wishes... David Blunkett

December 29, 1995

It is vital that our country moves beyond the artificial divisions between vocational and academic achievement. In the European year of lifelong learning, we can begin the task in schools and colleges by encouraging greater breadth in the curriculum.

We must broaden A levels so that young people take some core subjects as well as the examinations they would otherwise take. We must improve the standards and esteem of GNVQs. Then we can move towards an overarching qualification, so that most young people take A levels and vocational qualifications.

Employers and higher education institutions, as well as parents and students, are beginning to realise that the artificial divide which has existed in the past does not help British industry, nor does it improve the employability of individuals. I believe this is something on which we can develop a consensus in 1996, and one which we in the Labour party will do our bit to foster.

David Blunkett is Shadow Education Secretary.

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