Now, we have 53 per cent gaining that qualification. It must have been two or three years old, but it said that 75 per cent of children aged more than 14 in care were not in education. My noble friend Lady Sharp referred to the Tomlinson report as the opportunity of a lifetime. That legacy infects part of British society. Sure Start has of course been a flagship programme, and there is good evidence from the Institute of Education that children who experience three years of high-quality early-years education boost their development at the end of key stage 2 by 10 months.
They need to understand about responsibility and trust and how to make decisions and the importance of positive attitudes to others and, especially, the responsibilities of family life. The curriculum is too bound up in the obsession with the academic and thus is overly defined by academics. A major shake-up in assessment is proposed in the report. SkillsActive is working hard to develop pathways for entry to the workforce. Local strategic partnerships of many kinds are being established, including education professionals, which is essential. Those of us who think that parenting is key to achievement, welfare and happiness, including the pursuit of education, should be encouraged by that.
I hope that the Minister can comment and expand on this, because it has been one of the themes of the debate today. I am afraid that we were able to give these only two cheers. Modern languages and science and technology went into an immediate decline. These would be introduced to A-levels as A-plus and A-double plus before the diploma was introduced. It is worth doing this if there is some tangible qualification at the end.
It also felt like a nice break between highly specialised lessons, for example learning how reproduction works for rabbits was a nice break between Rabelais and the in-depth study of the rise of neo-nazism in Germany in German!! It also reported that one in three companies has to provide remedial training for those who leave school without having mastered reading, writing and arithmetic. It is for that reason that we need to provide a coherent framework of education that embraces the vocational and the academic. Most importantly, it provides an incentive for the individual to make the effort to reach a little higher. The report divides disaffected youngsters into three groups - the 1 to 2 percent of non-attendees totally disengaged with the school process, the 20 percent who are 'disaffected but in touch' with education through a mixture of school and the current vocational provision, and the 20 percent who are engaged with school but who fail to achieve five A to C passes. The metaphor will not do any longer. French and German and English, come to that , however, are taught almost exclusively via grammar-translation, so you get the problem that 'successful' pupils, who've passed all the exams and can tell you all the metagrammatical terms in Swedish for every word in the language, can't actually read a French newspaper or order a cup of coffee in German.
In 1982 I wrote one of the first introductory books on computers in language learning and teaching, which was followed by numerous other printed and software publications. The developments focus on foundation degrees in higher education, young apprenticeships for the 14 to 16 age group, progression routes for non-traditional learners and, potentially, adult apprenticeships for the over-25s. It states: The quality of learning depends heavily on the quality of teaching. If this approach is acceptable as a means of assessing a student who has reached the highest level of academic study, why should it not be used with younger students. It is an economic issue because if we are to compete successfully in the global economy, we need to improve skills and to encourage the capacity and enthusiasm to learn throughout life.
I like the French system as I felt that it allowed me to o what I liked but was still L series and I loved the fact that most of the time I was studying literary subjects but still had to exercise and also still had to do a bit of everything. Electronic transcripts setting out pupil achievements in all courses and other activities would also be available for the A-level equivalent exams. The numbers are different, but they will not necessarily reconcile. Each student is given the name of an individual that was involved in the debate that was taking place at this time. With the less than adequate treatment of religious education and personal skills in the White Paper response to Tomlinson, it seems that they add up to little more than a utilitarian package. I wish I could agree with the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie of Luton, that there is not really all that much difference between what Tomlinson proposes and what the White Paper proposes. To this observer at least it seems unlikely that the review will result in the bank break-up that Tomlinson calls for.
So it is with children and learning and motivation to learn. Let me give you an idea how it might work. It is appropriate that we debate this report of very considerable significance. Twelve years ago, that commission was talking about the need for breadth, saying that it is quite fundamental. Professionalisation of the fitness industry through the Register of Exercise Professionals, a SkillsActive company, means that young people are informed about what qualifications are valued, where they can get them and what qualities employers are looking for. My brother could sniff out from a mile away patronising proposals to marginalise pupils who do not perform well in our educational system. The Report envisaged that such a focus on inclusive learning would improve the quality of learner experience for students with difficulties or disabilities, and, indeed, change the culture of educational establishments by focusing on planning with and supporting the needs of individuals.
That is a crucial issue that is not fully covered in the White Paper. The Brevet has replaced the old Certif. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion. After much discussion, careful consideration and consultation, Mike Tomlinson put forward proposals that we on these Benches thought were not perfect, but were well worth developing and building on. Added together this group makes up at least 41 percent of the school age population - a significant chunk who could be identified to be more 'suited' to vocational rather than academic education. The Budget had a specific offer on that. Land additional to that set aside in the would need to be purchased and annexed to the reserves, and the state would need to develop industries in and near the reserves to create an additional 300,000 jobs.
It should not be a two-year stretch to pass an A-level; there ought to be steps that can be taken along the way. So you can go faster if it suits you. So how do we change that? The aim of breaking down the barriers between the academic and the so-called vocational pathways seemed to be at the heart of the government Green Paper which led to the Tomlinson report in the first place. I believe that we are seeing the beginning of the end of the academic snobbery of which this country has in the past fallen foul. At first students could be given an overview of the topic. It is for that reason that I have chosen today to offer a debate to the House.