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Schools 'must offer rigour in technical learning'

10/03/2017 Joanna

The UK education system must place an emphasis on rigorous, technically-focused learning if it wants to develop the skills and attitudes many employers need, the headteacher of a London school has claimed.

Dr Vanessa Ogden of the Mulberry School for Girls in east London spoke to the Telegraph about the lessons she learned from a trip she made to Paris a few years ago.

She watched a group of youngsters at a technical school who were given the task of creating replicas of a spiral staircase from the French capital's Notre Dame cathedral. The children had to first photograph and measure the structure before coming up with a detailed design for their own miniature version of it.

Dr Ogden said her experience at the French school gave her a new insight into the level of technical education she wanted to offer at her own comprehensive.

"That's the kind of rigour in technical learning that we really need for young people who want to contribute to business and industry from the outset - who really want to apply their intellect to a practical setting, which delivers at a high level for the economy but also for themselves," the headteacher said.

Dr Ogden's school has established the Mulberry University Technical College, which will open in September. The new institution will focus on delivering employer-led education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

There are ongoing concerns around the availability of technical and scientific skills in the UK labour force. In response, the chancellor of the exchequer announced in this week's Budget that the government was investing in a drive to put technical education on an equal footing with academic studies, with 15 different 'T-level' courses being introduced.

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