Jervis, Kevin John (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The origins and developments of pre-vocational education are traditionally traced back to Prime Minister James Callaghan’s speech on 18th October 1976 at Ruskin College, near Oxford. An assertion of this study is that this is a fallacy, with evidence of the existence of pre-vocational education dating back many years before this date. Further it is contended that Callaghan’s speech was not the catalyst for change in aspects of secondary education that many have suggested. The speech was neither a deliberate attempt by Callaghan to challenge the accepted modus operandi of the educational establishment nor an effort to raise standards. On the contrary, this study will argue that Callaghan’s intervention in education was a conscious attempt to distract the attention of commentators away from the worsening social and economic conditions within the U.K, which Callaghan had inherited from Harold Wilson. The above will be argued primarily through placing the emphasis on an aspect of secondary education which has attracted very few words of analysis or explanation namely, pre-vocational education. A definition of pre-vocational education will be constructed in order to help raise the status of pre-vocational education by means of establishing a greater understanding and awareness. The emphasis on PVE will also allow for a direct comparison to be made between the content of Callaghan’s words of 18th October 1976 with the content of the Tomlinson Report published on 18th October 2004 helping to establish that Callaghan was neither a catalyst for change or making particularly original claims.
The study will use the resources of the City of Birmingham as well as the local and national press to help substantiate many of the assertions, thus mimicking a practice used by the authoritative education historian Professor Roy Lowe (1988).
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