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Nicky Morgan on the arts and humanities education...

(9 Posts)
RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Tue 11-Nov-14 13:22:18

Article in today's Indy - it's also been picked up by the Telegraph.

Very depressing. You WILL be an engineer whether you want to, or would be any good at it even, or not. Not the message that the secretary of state for education should be giving out.

catslife Tue 11-Nov-14 14:35:53

Telegraph article is here
Agree OP that this sort of interference by politicians makes me cross.
The Ed Sec obviously has little experience of 15 year olds, who are unlikely to take any notice anyway.
How many politicians have degrees in STEM subjects, I wonder. My suspicion is not many.
And how come if STEM subjects are so great, my dd won't obtain the EBacc as she has "chosen" to take ICT and DT rather than History or Geography?

ReallyTired Tue 11-Nov-14 14:45:46

Nicky Morgan's private school made GCSE history complusory. Clearly such an unusual decision has not harmed Nicky in any way.

Surbition High put a huge emphasis on Humanities and the Arts in the 1990s. I wish that my children could have such opportunities for public speaking, drama, music, fine art that she had. Infact she had excellent science and maths opportunities as well. We need children to have a well rounded curriculum just as Nicky had as a child.

prh47bridge Tue 11-Nov-14 14:53:00

So you are saying that politicians shouldn't tell the truth? That we should not tell 15-year olds unsure whether to go for humanities subjects or STEM subjects at A-level that the STEM subjects lead to a greater choice of careers? And surely you agree with her that we must make sure teenage girls don't feel that certain subjects are for men only?

ReallyTired Tue 11-Nov-14 14:58:42

I think that we should reform A-levels so that children do not have to make life changing decisions at 16 years old. I would like the UK to scrap A-levels and have the international baculorate. An international qualification would be less vunerable to grade inflation.

Developing outstanding speaking, listening and writing skills benefits many careers. The arts, languages, humanties have a place in developing a rounded adult. I have excellent STEM skills, but my poor communication skills have held me back in life.

Most of our competitors have a broader education until 18. I feel its time we did the same.

prh47bridge Tue 11-Nov-14 14:59:10

We need children to have a well rounded curriculum just as Nicky had as a child.

And, speaking at a campaign that is aiming to get more pupils to study maths and physics at A-level, Nicky Morgan did not in any way disagree with that. She did not downgrade arts and the humanities. She did emphasise the importance of the STEM subjects. And yes, she did say we need more pupils to opt for STEM subjects. That is true.

You can read the full speech (rather than the extracts chosen by the press to try and make a controversial story out of it) here.

catslife Tue 11-Nov-14 15:31:37

I am very pleased that my dd is at a school where she hasn't been forced to take either History or Geography (which she isn't interested in) in order to boost the school's position in the league tables. This has enabled her to take more STEM subjects. However many schools are doing the opposite, which is having an effect on entries for both STEM subjects and Creative Arts.
However as well as options at GCSE, A level and degree level there need to be more Apprenticeships (and Advanced Apprenticeships) in this important area. There are many technical jobs in these sectors that don't require degrees and not every child with aptitude in STEM subjects would be capable of degree level study.
Perhaps also more "conversion" courses to enable graduates with other degrees (who have suitable A levels and/or GCSEs) to move into these careers would help too.
The other issue is how to encourage graduates to stay with Science and Engineering rather than moving into areas that seem more lucrative such as the Financial sector i.e. jobs in the City and accountancy.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Tue 11-Nov-14 16:19:59

They won't lead to a greater choice of careers if the young person isn't that good at or interested in them.

What we need to be doing is persuading those who are good at STEM subjects to not be so narrow - the science grads we employ are (too) often incapable of expressing themselves adequately in writing or verbally. And we employ people with top grades and good degrees from 'top' RG universities (city firm).

A certain sector of the economy needs a lot of low grade technicians. That's fine, there are and will be people who want to do those sorts of jobs. But to present them as the only or the best choice for people whose talents lie in other directions is disingenuous, wrongheaded and outrageous when the person doing so is the education secretary.

ReallyTired Tue 11-Nov-14 18:09:00

Most children only do three or four A-levels and for most STEM careers you need 3 A-levels which are STEM subjects.

I agree with you that we need to stop those who are good at STEM subjects to be less narrow. A-levels are not fit for purpose. I am exactly like the science grads you employ in that my ablity to communicate verbally or in writing is pretty poor. Inspite of having a good Science degree my career prospects after taking a break with children is pretty non existant.

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