April 2022. Article for Post-16 Educator 107
While reformers (including many Tories) continue to emphasise education’s potential in challenging
inequalities through expanding opportunities for those socially disadvantaged, radical practitioners
go further and argue an alternative curriculum is necessary. Here they have been joined by left-wing
academics, who, influenced by the writings of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and, in this country, by the
work of Raymond Williams, have theorised education as a site of ideological or ‘hegemonic’ struggle,
where there is potential to challenge, but also provide alternatives
January 2022. Article for Post-16 Educator 106
BTEC’s future is still in the balance.
Widespread opposition to Government plans to defund BTEC qualifications, ostensibly to make way for the new T-levels led to the forming of a multi-organisational ProtectStudentChoice alliance, its representation stretching from teacher unions to the Association of Colleges. With the Skills and Post 16 Education Bill scheduled to pass through Parliament, 118 cross party MPs and peers supporting the campaign signed a letter to new Secretary of State Nadhim Zahawi…………..
January 2022 book chapter Socialist Education Association, Curriculum & Assessment
Skills Without Jobs? The Further Education White Paper and beyond (with Patrick Ainley)
For the last decade and more the policy consensus has been on ‘rebuilding a vocational route to employment’. Tory politicians in particular have insisted that, rather than more graduates, there should be greater emphasis on ‘intermediate’ technical and vocational qualifications. Remember Lord (Kenneth) Baker’s crusade to promote the disastrous University Technical Colleges (UTCs) for the 14-19 age group. Then the Sainsbury Review of post-16 qualifications which led to new T (Technical) levels. More recently still, the Augar Report on post-18 provision argued that more sub-degree level vocational courses were needed in Higher Education. And so it is with the latest, long awaited, but underwhelming White Paper on Further Education, Skills for Jobs…………
January 2022 book chapter Encyclopedia of Marxism and Education (Brill publications)
Education without jobs.
This chapter examines the relationship between education and employment, with specific reference to developments in the UK. In contrast to ‘human capital theory’ — the claim that the expansion of education leads to increased economic prosperity and greater productivity, it argues that large numbers of jobs in the 21st century now only require low level skill and that as a result of the continued expansion of the education system, many young people are now increasingly ‘overqualified and under employed’.
It dismisses arguments about the transition to a post-Fordist or ‘knowledge’ economy and the opportunities this would provide for a new progressive agenda within education. It documents how ‘vocational’ alternatives to traditional academic qualifications and the reinvention of apprenticeships have failed to provide employment opportunities or to reduce the numbers of young people considering university attendance their only serious option.
In contrast to the arguments of Marxist ‘correspondence’ theory that education in capitalist societies closely reproduces the social relationships of production, the chapter argues that while education certainly reinforces social inequalities, its relationship to the labour market is far more contradictory and much less secure. Failing to provide adequate employment opportunities, education can never enjoy permanent legitimacy…….
Scroll down to download books I’ve published. Use the menu above to access journal articles, research papers and information about books that have been commercially published and other projects I’ve contributed to
Why young people can’t get the jobs they want and the education they need
Rewritten May 2021
Hard Labour: Young people moving into work in difficult times
Martin Allen October 2015
Download Hard labour oct 15
Another Great Training Robbery or a Real Alternative for Young People?
(Rewritten and updated November 2016)
Other material on apprenticeships
Download August 2016 Apprenticeships in England Impoverished but laddered ICERES paper
Patrick McGurk & Martin Allen Apprenticeships-in-England
Download September 2015 YMCA Journal article
Apprenticeships. New Opportunities for Young People, or Another Great Training Robbery?
Download October 2015 FORUM Journal article
Mr Cameron’s Million Apprenticeships
View July 2014 Guardian feature ‘Dead end Apprenticeships…..’
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jul/10/apprenticeships-failing-View ‘Dead end’ apprenticeships are failing to help young people find lasting workyouth-unemployment-skills#start-of-comments
Education Beyond the Coalition. Reclaiming the Agenda
Edited by Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley
ISBN 978-0-9575538-2-8 182 pp £6.99. Published Oct 2013
Download individual chapters
The Great Reversal
Edited by Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley
ISBN 978-0-9575538-0-4 128 pp Published February 2013
Currently not available as hardcopy To Download click here Great Reversal
The Great Reversal develops, expands and updates arguments made by the authors in two previous books…..The central argument is that the current strategy is to demolish what remains of the social democratic state education system established in the decades after the end of World War Two, and to do this as quickly as possible……compelling evidence is presented to illustrate that, rather than the lacking the skills, qualifications and abilities necessary for work, nowadays most young people are overqualified and underemployed. The authors are quite clear in their position: it is misguided economic policy rather than the education system that has let young people down………..
The Great Reversal is an engaging, incisive and affordable book. Those involved in providing education and training, advice and guidance, or welfare and support services for young people should read it. Trainee teachers, youth workers or careers advisers should also get a copy. Not only will it help students understand and critique what is going on round them, it will also enable them to argue for more just and meaningful alternatives.
Robin Simmons University of Huddersfield British Journal of Educational Studies