From education to employment

New research looks at constructive solutions to learner provision

Young learners may be prevented from getting to classes by unsympathetic timetabling and insufficient transport allowance time, according to two new reports.

Published yesterday by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), the reports look at what progress has been made at a local level to deal with the practicalities of delivering a broad curriculum to 14-19 year olds.

Funded by the Learning and Skills Council, the research found that many organizations were collaborating effectively to widen choice for 14-19 year olds. Solutions ranged from extending the school day by offering twilight programmes and setting up vocational facilities within the school.

However, when different providers” timetables didn”t match, the reports found that some younger learners had to catch-up on national curriculum lessons. Schools, colleges and training providers also needed to make more allowance for travelling time.

Carol Collins, a researcher at LSN said: “As 14-19 vocational provision becomes more mainstream, providers will need help and support with moving towards a more consistent timetabling system in each area, in order to give young learners the widest possible choices.”

Gareth Griffiths, Head of 14-19 Provision and Attainment, LSC, said: “The new 14-19 agenda depends crucially on colleges, schools and training providers working together to deliver a learning offer that will engage all young people.

“The 14″“19 Education and Skills White Paper has rightly placed the onus on local delivery to “make it happen”,” he added, “and this research provides early and significant evidence that many areas have already taken substantial steps to promote collaboration in pursuit of wider participation and better achievement.”

The research identified other practical ways of widening choice, including operating a block system where one day a week is spent on vocational, rather than core, subjects.

In some areas, staff travel to pupils at schools or learning centres instead of vice versa. Other solutions include developing online programmes, and providing materials to the school when pupils are too far away from the college.

Annabel Hardy.

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