Education can take many different forms. As the changing face of teaching over the past 50 years shows, there isn’t always a straightforward wrong or right.
It used to be very much about learning by rote.
Then it was continuous assessment.
And now it’s swaying back towards old-style exams.
But one thing’s for sure.
That traditional classroom environment does not bring out the best in everyone.
Which is why it’s refreshing to see Henry Cort Community College in Fareham trying something different with SkillForce. It is a programme that still works towards the equivalent of two GCSEs, but academic lessons are replaced with taking part in community projects and hands-on teaching.
Its aim is to be the way of getting through to so-called ‘difficult to reach’ youngsters.
And before anyone thinks this is wishy-washy teaching, they should note: the youngsters who take part in the programme are taught, in the main, by ex-Forces personnel – people not renowned for their laid-back approach to discipline.
What’s really great to see is an idea that focussed around getting the best from children who might otherwise slip through the cracks. It helps build the confidence that otherwise could be hit.
And it seems to be hitting the spot, with one youngster saying ‘they treat you like an adult’. Other schools are already showing an interest in the scheme and are sending their pupils along to take part in SkillForce. Hopefully, this idea, which originally came from the Ministry of Defence, will continue to grow and offer our young people another avenue in education.