Thatcher's Education Secretary calls for Technical Baccalaureate to be introduced

Technical qualifications should be offered to teenagers as well as traditional academic exams, former Tory Education Secretary Lord Baker has said.

He has proposed that students be offered a new Technical Baccalaureate (TBacc) that combines key subjects such as English, maths and science with vocational courses.

Lord Baker, a member of Margaret Thatcher's Government, said that teenagers should be given the opportunity to gain skills and hands-on experience through tough technical subjects such as engineering.

Pupils on the TBacc would take an employer endorsed technical or vocational course alongside the Government's new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) or GCSEs in English, maths, and science, Lord Baker said.

He added that they would also undertake work experience alongside the qualification to gain personal, learning and employability skills.

Lord Baker was presenting the TBacc proposals developed by a group set up by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust in response to the Government's new EBacc.

In order to be awarded the new EBacc students might need to achieve a GCSE grade C or above in English, maths, science, history or geography, and a foreign language.

Lord Baker said that although he agrees with current Education Secretary Michael Gove's attempts to raise standards, many vocational and practical qualifications are being pushed aside as they no longer count in school league tables.

He said: "We think the EBacc will not be satisfying for a large number of students.

"There will be many youngsters who will want technical, practical and vocational courses of some sort, as long as it's high quality."

He added: "We hope that the Government is going to say that it is a good idea. We are sure it will be very popular with schools."

Lord Baker said that the "national curriculum should give all young people a solid grounding in a full range of subjects up to the age of 14" but beyond that they should be able to choose "technical subjects such as engineering as part of a rigorous programme of study including English, maths and science".

He is proposing two different TBaccs, one for 16-year-olds, and one for 18-year-olds.

Copyright Press Association 2012