We want 14-16 year olds to do vocational qualifications that are comparable with the best academic qualifications in terms – agreed, but in status not in structure as “comparable in terms of assessment” misses the point.
The world has moved on from the 1950s. Teaching students how to perform in silence, without help, without resources is a pointless exercise and is not education. No-one in their future careers will be tested in this way. We must stop harking back to the past, “how we were educated” and start to prepare students for their future lives. Having vocational courses with the same flawed assessment as academic ones will be pointless. We need to raise the public perception of vocational education, especially considering all professions have a vocational element to successful completion (Bar Professional Training Course). Success in vocation education does not require essay or exam techniques, it requires hands on practical application of knowledge gained.