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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 18:58 GMT
Apprenticeships for all students in Wales
classroom
There is a new emphasis on "life skills"
A proposed restructuring of secondary education in Wales would see everyone following some form of "apprenticeship" from the age of 16.

These would be either academic or vocational, or a mixture.

The Welsh Education Minister, Jane Davidson, has proposed a target of having 95% of young people ready for "high skill employment" or higher education by 2015.

Publishing the plans for consultation, Ms Davidson said they "show how we might achieve the vision for Wales to have one of the best education and lifelong learning systems throughout the world".

Work and life skills

There is an emphasis on choice and on "real life experiences and opportunities" so students can apply their knowledge and develop the skills they need for life and work.

Officials said the 95% target meant students having either an intermediate or advanced level qualification.

All 14 to 16 year olds would have the option of a vocational subject, with more emphasis on work-focused learning and on community and voluntary work.

Future of GCSEs

GCSE exams would mean the age of 16 - the end of compulsory education - being seen as "a progress check rather than an exit point".

One way to encourage people to stay in learning would be to view those getting grades D and below as having achieved a "foundation" qualification, rather than "having effectively fallen short".

From 16 to 19 everyone would follow a form of apprenticeship:

  • Combined Apprenticeship - the opportunity for study at a school or a college with extended work-placement, leading to AS and A-levels, GNVQs and NVQs
  • Modern Apprenticeship leading to a work-based NVQ qualification
  • General Apprenticeship leading to AS and A-levels in schools or colleges.
To support teenagers through the increased choices available to them they would have "learning coaches".

Implementing the proposals "will inevitably break down the established notions of school day and school year for most young people," the consultation paper says.

"Part of their learning would be through a range of activities at least some of which would take place outside the usual school/college setting, day and term."

There would have to be "more creative curriculum timetabling", for example through "twilight" sessions or intensive courses.

"These developments will help shape the school of the future for learners of all ages."

See also:

15 Oct 02 | Wales
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