From education to employment

Quarter of A-level students pressured by teachers to attend university

Almost a quarter of secondary school pupils feel their teachers are more interested in getting students to attend university, than concentrating on what is right for their students, according to recent research.

The research, undertaken with 500 second year A-level students on behalf of the independent education foundation Edge, also found that an overwhelming majority (92%) of those surveyed got the impression that their school wanted them to go to university.

Another interesting statistic revealed in the research was the fact that 32% of the young learners polled stated that vocational qualifications and opportunities had never been presented to them as an option, while 77% believed that they had been discouraged from pursuing a vocational path.

Edge CEO Jan Hodges said: “It is extremely disappointing that so many young learners feel they lacked sufficient information about all the opportunities open to them including vocational ones.

“Education and career choices are life-changing decisions and so it is vital young people have access to full and impartial information. There are many paths to success in life and work.”

The announcement of the findings of the recent research coincides with plans for this year’s VQ Day 2012, which will take place on Wednesday 20thJune.

The day is led by Edge in conjunction with support from the vocational qualifications community. It will recognise the value high quality vocational qualifications bring to individuals and communities around the UK and will be marked by events at colleges, schools, businesses and learning providers across the country, including awards ceremonies and open days.

National events will also be held in London, Northern Ireland and Wales.

This year, VQ Day is calling on the Government to supply schools and teachers with thorough information on the benefits of vocational qualifications and routes. Edge believes teachers and careers guidance counsellors should be better supported to inform and enthuse students about the thousands of vocational study options and careers available each year across the UK.

Hodges added: “University is not a one size fits all solution and the Government has a duty to educate schools and teachers further about the benefits of VQs and vocational routes such as Apprenticeships – their indispensible contribution to our economy and their aid in providing millions of people with the skills they need to develop successful careers.”

VQ Day’s call to Government is supported across the vocational sector, with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers lobbying Ofsted to include impartial advice on VQs in school inspections.

AELP CEO Graham Hoyle OBE said: “Schools will be required by law from this September to offer impartial advice to their students from an external independent advisory service and it will not be enough to simply refer the students to a careers website.

“The big concern is that checks won’t be made to see if schools are complying with the new statutory guidance unless Ofsted inspectors are given a role to play in overcoming the remaining stigma against vocational learning.

“Recent commitments from ministers are reassuring and it’s important that their determination to see compliance is fully followed through wherever problems are identified.”

To find out more about VQ day see:

Linsey Humphries

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