Recent study conducted by YouthSight [...]
R.I.P to over 3,000 Vocational courses
Over 3,000 vocational courses are to be cut from schools. Why? Because schools have been offering them to boost their league tables! Regardless of whether these courses give students any skills or advantages, they are being offered and created for the wrong reasons. So even if they are beneficial for students, they are being scrapped.
Personally I think these courses are brilliant. As I’ve argued before we don’t need to push teenagers into being ‘academic’ when they have so much potential in practical, useful, employable skills.
I have a sneaking theory David Cameron is like those parents you see pulling their children to dance/karate/chess club/reading club by the noose. And he’s now imposing his own wants onto the kids of the nation. By all means, every child should have at the very least basic Maths, English and Science secondary education certificates – but that is why they are compulsory. I do think a language, and either history and/or geography should now be compulsory to make sure our children do not fall behind internationally. (Everyone I know from another country can speak more than one language, which makes me feel incredibly cheated by my education.) But I sat 13 GCSE’s, most people sit at least 11…so: 11-6 = FIVE other subjects to study! If they want four of them to be in horse care, either because it is unlikely they are going to do amazingly well in the other subjects or just because they have a passion for it, then why shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to do so?
In all experiments in education (e.g Jamie’s dream school: http://www.channel4.com/search/?q=jamie+oliver+dream+school ) I’m aware of, practical activities engage and excite children – it keeps them in school, enjoying their studies. It shows them that school and learning aren’t just reading books and writing essays and sitting exams. These vocational courses are crucial to some children that simply are not going to be academics – not because they’re not capable but because they don’t want to. Everyone knows you’re more likely to do well in a subject you enjoy, so as long as the other core subjects are kept compulsory, I see absolutely no reason why these other courses should be taken from students.
When I was at school I chose to do music and drama instead of history. If I had not been given the choice, and had been made to study history, I probably wouldn’t have done as well. At the time I had no interest in history, even though I was very good at it. Imagine a kid that isn’t good at any of the academic subjects – but knows their fish husbandry. There are students that want to study these courses and carry those skills onto college or employment.
Which brings us to further education and employment. I am sure one of the reasons these courses count as four GCSE’s is because that is the minimum requirement to get into college. For very nonacademic students, this is the only gateway to college. I’m not justifying giving up on their other subjects (many colleges have GCSE courses for students lacking in one core subject – and schools run re-sits). Students should be made to re-do GCSE’s in core subjects if they fail. But at the very least that student can say to themselves – ‘I can still go to college to do what I want to do…I’ll just have to re-sit my Science GCSE as well.’ Instead of – ‘I failed my Science GCSE, I have to re-sit it or I can’t go to college, whilst all my friends can go…I failed and will always be a failure, what’s the point in doing anything?’ Confidence in one subject can lead students to be more confident in other subjects and in themselves. Why take that opportunity to enjoy learning away from a 14 year old?
Of course one of the government’s main arguments is that employers doubt the worth of these qualifications. But this is an argument for improving the courses – not for scrapping them altogether! Time and effort and a lot of tax payers’ money has been put into these courses. What a waste to get rid of a bike that simply needs oiling.
These children should not be getting second-rate teaching, and employers should not be receiving under-qualified school leavers. Make the courses better and more reputable. Don’t just scrap over 3,000 of them because you want your child to read Shakespeare and go to Chess club, when he/she wants to do fish husbandry – and is pretty damn good at it too. Why not support our students in what they want to do, instead of grinding the axe of academia and the completely bogus idea we need MORE, uncomfortable, awkward, university students? No, we need more highly skilled workers, who can actually do something useful. For a lot of students it just isn’t right to push them into college and uni when they’d rather earn money, be productive and independent, and not live off their parents and a student loan/government hand out.
Forget about league tables and think about what is best for improving the chances a child has of doing something they enjoy – as well as having all the necessary skills to add up invoices, write their CV and an employable skill with a relevant, college worthy qualification.Tweet Share0
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