Policy tensions in vocational education and training for young people: the origins of General National Vocational Qualifications

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Abstract

One of the most notable developments in post-compulsory educationand training in recent years has been the establishment of GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification) policy in England and Wales. Although the new qualifications have attracted a considerable amount of popularity in the few years since their launch, they have nonetheless been the subject of much critical comment. Drawing principally on in-depth interviews with key informants in the policy process, an account of how GNVQ policy originated is provided in this paper. It is argued that the presence of four interrelated ‘policy tensions’ during the development phase- the tendency for ‘academic’ education to be privileged over ‘vocational’ education and training, the potential for conflict in government between longterm strategic imperatives and short-term political objectives, the differing aims of the education and employment departments and the contours of the relationship which a quango like the NCVQ has with its sponsoring department(s)- shaped the way in which GNVQs progressed and thus contributed to their subsequent weaknesses on implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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