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Hodgson, A. and Spours, K. (2004) Reforming 14-19 learning. Towards a new comprehensive
phase of education?
New Economy 2004: 4 pp217-222. Interesting article which start with 'The Labour Government has since 1997 attempted to reform the English upper secondary education and training system, but without significantly altering its structure or culture. Despite recent changes to A Levels through Curriculum 2000, diversification of GCSEs with the introduction of applied subjects, the establishment of the Learning and Skills Council as a unified planning and funding agency and repeated reviews of the role of apprenticeship, post-14 education in
England still carries the legacies of the past.' Download (pdf 300k)

Hodgson, A. and Spours, K.
(2007)  Specialised diplomas: transforming the 14-19 landscape in England? Journal of Education Policy, 22:6, 657 - 673  Abstract: Reforming vocational education in the English education and training system has occupied governments for at least the last three decades, the latest development being the introduction of 14 lines of Specialised Diplomas. Using an historical analysis of qualifications reform, we suggest they are unlikely to transform 14–19 education and training. The failure to reform academic qualifications alongside their vocational equivalents is likely to result in ‘academic drift’, lack of status and a relatively low level of uptake for these new awards, a process compounded by low employer recognition of broad vocational qualifications. In rejecting the Tomlinson Report’s central proposal for a unified diploma system covering all 14–19 education and training, we argue that the government may have condemned the Specialised Diplomas to become a middle-track qualification for a minority of 14–19-years-olds, situated between the majority academic pathway and the sparsely populated apprenticeship route. (Download - pdf)

Hodgson, Ann and Spours, Ken
(2006) 'An analytical framework for policy engagement: the contested case of 14-19 reform in England' , Journal of Education Policy,21:6,679 — 696 Download (pdf 102k)

Lumby, J. and Wilson, M.
(2003) Developing 14–19 education: meeting needs and improving choice. Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 18, No. 5, 533–550. The recent UK government Green Paper proposes reform for the supply side of 14–19 education, establishing four key goals. This article focuses on the first of these goals: meeting needs and improving choice. The article draws on research on sixth form colleges, general further education colleges and schools. It argues that employers, one of the two groups highlighted in the Green Paper, are a relatively weak force in shaping provision. The second group, young people, are more powerful due to current funding incentives. It presents evidence which suggests that colleges and schools perceive both practical and attitudinal difficulties in collaborating to meet needs by offering flexible routes and a distinctive range of choices. A long history of intervention in the supply side has not achieved widening participation nor equity amongst the choices offered. A more radical approach to influencing the demand side may be needed. Download (pdf 87k)

Mc Lone, R.
(2005) 14-19 Reform: Evolution not Revolution? Education Journal 2005 84. pp5-6. Starts with: “…. Public opinion in England is disposed to put quite an excessive reliance on the system of competitive examinations … Examinations, as ends in themselves, occupy too much of the thoughts of parents and teachers. Their very convenience and success has led to their multiplication and to their occupying too large a place in the system of national education.” Discuss. Download (pdf 220k)

Spours, Ken, Coffield, Frank and Gregson, Maggie
(2007) 'Mediation, translation and local ecologies: understanding the impact of policy levers on FE colleges', Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 59:2,193 — 211 Download (pdf 92k)