There are two key questions at the heart of the ongoing debate about education and training for all young people, irrespective of background, ability or attainment:
What counts as an educated 19 year old today?
Are the models of education we have inherited from the past sufficient to meet the needs of all young people, as well as the social and economic needs of the wider community?
Education for All addresses these questions in the light of evidence collected over five years by the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training: the most rigorous investigation of every aspect of this key educational phase for decades. Written by the co-directors of the Nuffield Review, Education for All provides a critical, comprehensive and thoroughly readable overview of 14-19 education and training and makes suggestions for the kind of education and training that should be provided over the coming decade and beyond.
The authors acknowledge that much has been achieved by the respective governments - massive investment in resources; closer collaboration between schools, colleges, training providers, voluntary agencies and employers; recognition and promotion of a wider range of qualifications. They are also optimistic about the good things that are going on in many secondary classrooms - enormous amounts of creativity; courageous efforts to meet problems; a deep concern and caring for many young people otherwise deprived of hope and opportunity. But they argue for a radical reshaping of the future in the light of a broader vision of education - a greater respect for more practical and active learning; a system of assessment which supports rather than impoverishes learning; respect for the professional expertise of the teacher; a more unified system of qualifications ensuring progression into higher education and employment; the creation of strongly collaborative and local learning systems; and a more reflective and participative approach to policy.
Education for All should be read by everyone working in - or with an interest in - secondary-level education in England and Wales and beyond.