Heads criticise suggestion to cut vocational education

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A GOVERNMENT review that suggests limiting vocational courses for 14 to 16-year-olds to just 20 per cent of the curriculum has been criticised by heads who worry it could alienate youngsters.

Nadine Powrie, of Neville Lovett school in Fareham, and Steve Labedz, of Lord Admiral Nelson School in Portsmouth, have voiced concerns about Alison Wolf’s report into vocational education.

Mrs Powrie said: ‘How do you engage children who are more technically inclined and can’t sit on a chair for more than five minutes without losing interest or concentration?

‘I agree some schools use vocational qualifications to boost their statistics, but good vocational courses can give many children a real opportunity to prepare themselves for the world of work.’

Mr Labedz, who sits on the Portsmouth Consortium of schools and colleges which collaborates on vocational courses and shares expertise, added: ‘There is no mention in the report about engaging students in education. Academic subjects are not the answer for all students.

‘You should provide courses that are appropriate for that student which could mean vocational subjects in more creative or technical subjects such as music and drama. It’s too late to give students those opportunities after they leave school – children as young as 11 and 12 are already making big life decisions.’