With the mock season coming to an end and proper exam season starting soon, students will start to beg the question that has been asked numerous times in the past decade.

Should schools offer more vocational GCSEs as opposed to standard sit-in ones? Some people agree that we should add more vocational courses like this teacher who said: “Would be nice to offer more vocational courses into the timetable EG: Plumbing, hairdressing, mechanic, electrician”.

While others disagree, as one student put it: “I believe that vocational courses break the academic integrity.”

It’s hard to see basic GCSEs such as Maths and English in the next five to 10 years however new vocational purses have already started to appear and seem to be overtaking normal GCSEs.

On the one hand, we should have more vocational courses because some students crash and burn in traditional exams. Therefore by introducing vocational courses, we can enable these students to succeed in life. Students also learn differently from their peers and some may benefit from the hands-on approach of a vocational course compared to a traditional GCSE.

Vocational is also good at getting students to demonstrate their methods in a particular subject. They also give students a hands-on approach which builds an expanse which will help students with employment prospects.

On the other hand, vocational courses still have a stigma around them that makes them feel less valued than normal GCSEs, this would not be solved by adding new courses to the timetable as it can only be solved through lots of years and radical change. Part of this is that they are viewed as being easier and require less effort to achieve a passing grade. 

Overall, I believe that there should be a balance between vocational courses and traditional GCSEs. If the system is swayed one way or another too much then it will cause an imbalance and leave some students at a disadvantage.

  • This article has been written by Oliver Sparks, from Wildern School, as part of Newsquest's YounG Reporter scheme.