The impact of practical and vocational learning on academically-able young people aged 11-16

1 September 2009 - 31 August 2010

Awarded to: Professor  William Richardson

Funding awarded to Exeter £ 49,865

Sponsor(s): The Edge Foundation

About the project

An investigation commissioned by the Edge Foundation to investigate the impact of practical and vocational learning on the motivation, attitudes and achievement of 'academically able' young people.  We were asked to assess whether practical and vocational learning at school has any positive or negative effect on students':

  • motivation
  • levels of achievement
  • choice of post-16 learning routes; and
  • awareness of (and attitudes towards) a variety of career options.

Research focused on students identified as achieving average or above average levels of attainment in 'academic' terms. In addition, the authors carried out an extensive literature review and examined the history of the secondary school curriculum and methods of assessment in England and Wales.  We believe this to be first UK study to investigate these themes through the attitudes and outlooks of 'academically-able' students across a range of varied schools.

Fieldwork was carried out in six schools in 2010 and the report was completed in May 2011.

The full report and summary report are available on the Edge Foundation website.