By Matthew Barrett
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Ed Miliband has decided to make vocational education a key part of his conference speech this afternoon, judging by the coverage in the press this morning. He is attacking the Government, ostensibly for not doing enough to provide vocational opportunities to students – despite the fact the Government is taking action on the issue. The Guardian reported:
"The proposal for a Tech Bacc, which was supported by Miliband's industry adviser, Lord Adonis, originates from a report by Prof Alison Wolf in 2011 commissioned by Gove. … Gove welcomed the report, but has not implemented it, prompting Miliband to claim Gove has contempt for vocational qualifications."
But, as the newspaper reports…
"Conservative sources dismissed Miliband's reform initiative, saying Gove has already set out the goal Miliband is discussing, has already changed the funding system to begin this transition, and that Miliband's pledge will already have happened long before the election."
Professor Wolf, a respected economist, has now released a statement which refutes Miliband's partisan attack, by praising Michael Gove's implementation of her report, and welcoming Miliband to the "emerging consensus" on education:
"I was very pleased when the Coalition government accepted all the recommendations of my Review of Vocational Education. I have also been delighted and impressed by the speed with which they are being implemented, including specifically those relating to English and Maths for 16-18 year olds, which have now gone into effect. I was therefore also pleased to learn, from the reports on the Labour Conference, that there is finally an emerging consensus in this country on the critical importance of maths and English in the modern labour market, and for the whole population."
Back to square one for Mr Miliband.