A curriculum fit for the 21st century offers young people increased choice about what they learn and where they study. From September 2010 sixty students in Jersey will enjoy an opportunity to study new vocational courses and training alongside their traditional academic subjects. Funded by the Department for Education, Sport and Culture and the Jersey Skills Board, Year 10 students aged 14 -15 years old, will for the first time, access and enjoy a very different curriculum. Within two years 120 students will be engaged in developing their vocational skills, knowledge and understanding and technical training in a range of level 1 NVQ /BTEC courses, worth 2 GCSE’s.
A new collaborative partnership has been established between Highlands College and four 11-16 secondary schools of Grainville, Haute Vallee, Le Rocquier and Les Quennevais. Students will be able to access courses in
These vocational qualifications will provide students with the skills and knowledge specific to trade or industry and focus on practical experience. The BTEC /NVQ qualifications are recognised by universities and valued by employers and can help young people to get a better job or be on a route into Further Education.
Mr John McGuinness, Headteacher of Grainville School said "this is a really exciting time in education. Vocational courses offer students the chance to study a new subject in a different environment and perhaps using different learning styles. Their concentrated study will take place one day every week and can lead onto a wider range of different courses at level 2 or employment. It provides students with a day out of school to learn in a mature college environment. Students can feel good about their future and discover how practical skills can be applied in the real world".
In recent research from the UK, 14-16 year olds who participated in a more flexible curriculum including vocational courses benefited from their exposure to this broader curriculum. The research revealed that particular benefits for young people included the development of so-called ‘soft’ skills; including working with adults, confidence in employability, and inter-personal and communication skills. A further benefit identified by the researchers was a more positive attitude towards schools amongst the students participating.