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Tories accused of 'pigeonholing' young people

06/10/2009 Joanna
A Conservative party pledge to introduce a new type of "technical" school in 12 cities across England has met with criticism from teaching bodies.

Speaking at the party's conference earlier this week, shadow schools secretary Michael Gove said the schools would be funded from the academy budget and would focus on engineering and science.

Responding to the news, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, noted that while vocational training "has its own validity", anyone implementing the proposals would have to be "very careful that students aren't pigeonholed far too early".

She described the Conservatives' plans to begin selection when children are aged 14 as "unacceptable".

The NASUWT union's general secretary Chris Keates, meanwhile, said it "seems to illustrate a 'sheep and goat' mentality to classifying pupils".

"This is no way to manage an inclusive state education system," he added.

Despite claims the move would create segregation, Mr Gove insisted that the aim was to reduce the gap between rich and poor by training young people in sustainable trades.

Written by Alan Douglas

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