Headlines: September 3rd, 2002

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is calling for school pupils as young as 14 to be allowed to opt for a vocational college education as an alternative to continued classroom study.It’s a call which appears, initially, at odds with generally accepted views that education in the British Isles needs to get better and last longer if it is to achieve its goal of being one of the hi-tech centres of the world.

But the SNP says the ‘one size fits all’ drift towards more and more young people staying on longer at school does not suit everyone, and that there is a danger of producing a substantial group of young people who – because they are not interested or attuned to academic subjects – find themselves marking time in their final school years.

It says rigid schooling structures are holding in place pupils who would do better elsewhere and whose future may depend on early help to find a vocational route to work.

It says that schools can avoid the danger of students closing down future options by offering quality careers guidance.

A similar concept is being proposed in England’s review of its 14-19 education programme, where underperforming pupils might be released fromsome of the demands of following the National Curriculum.

Link: www.dfes.gov.uk/14-19greenpap