Building the Foundations of A LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY
ENTITLEMENT AND PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
Q12. To what extent should school pupils generally expect their desire for experience of college to be realised?
Further Education Sector
6.1 There was general agreement that entitlement would not be possible.
6.2 James Watt College (and Inverclyde Council and North Ayrshire Council) said that school/college partnerships should agree available placement capacity before options are offered.
6.3 NUS Scotland expressed concern that with limited resources and capped student numbers, colleges may displace adult applicants to accommodate school pupils. Jewel & Esk Valley College Students Association agreed that scarce resources cannot be stretched further and numbers must be carefully monitored.
6.4 SFEFC said that a model of automatic entitlement is unlikely to lead to provision which best meets the needs of the pupil, rather there should be local agreements between colleges and education authorities which are reviewed regularly. Provision should fit local authority educational strategies. Colleges could set out rationale for school age agreements in their strategic plans.
6.5 Banff & Buchan College stated that realistic expectations need to be established and progress managed within a contractual framework. The rural context must be given high priority.
6.6 Respondents generally agreed that FE courses should be offered in curriculum choices from S3 onwards. Many stressed that not all pupils will expect to undertake an FE college course but that they should be able to opt in; there should be no compulsion. Several respondents indicated that opportunities will be determined by finite resources which colleges have - there can be no guarantee of a place due to place limitations. Aberdeenshire Council agreed that selection would be carried out with agreed criteria as with all other FE students.
6.7 Falkirk Council stated that clear national guidance is required on the issue of entitlement.
6.8 Angus Council and Western Isles Council stated that there should be entitlement while Glasgow City Council and Kilsyth Academy were among those who indicated that this should not be automatic due to capacity issues.
6.9 EIS and STUC stated that for a variety of reasons not all pupils will want a college experience and the rights of the child to participate in choice must be respected. The STUC also added that the national framework must take account of rural and other areas where access is difficult.
Further Education Sector
6.10 Glenrothes College and West Dunbartonshire Council (and Clydebank College) were among those who felt that those
aged 14 - 16 should have a broader vocationally relevant experience and have the opportunity to attend college embedded in the school curriculum. Glasgow College of Food Technology said that pupils should expect opportunities to develop vocational skills in the same way as they expect the opportunity to develop academic ability.
6.11 Langside College said that it is important that expectations are realistic in terms of meeting pupils' needs and the capacity of college to deliver alongside meeting the needs of adult students. It is important that this provision does not displace that for adult students.
6.12 Several responses stressed the importance of good guidance for pupils and their parents and choice based on genuine desire to attend. The Association of Scottish Colleges, Dumfries & Galloway College and Elmwood College stated that not all pupils will wish to attend nor would it be appropriate for them to do so.
6.13 Dumfries & Galloway Council (Education & Community Services) said that pupils should have an entitlement in some form but the extent to which pupil expectations can be met will vary across authorities and will be dependant on the ability of colleges to meet demand. This raises the matter of equitable provision for all pupils. The Executive needs to take account of this principle and related costs of equity.
6.14 Angus Council remarked that college is not the only provider of vocational training and that other opportunities in the local community should be considered.
6.15 Western Isles Council and North Lanarkshire Council supported wider choice and the more holistic learning experience offered in relation to the balance between 'academic' and 'vocational' courses.
6.16 The EIS said that there must be a balance between pupil choice and the capacity of colleges to deliver.
Further Education Sector
6.17 It was generally felt those over 16 would benefit from the college experience as this would help ease transition from school to FE/HE or employment. This age group can choose to attend as they are over statutory school leaving age. Glenrothes College said that it would be appropriate to have a significant part of their curriculum delivered in college, linking into a broader range of Higher Still units and courses. Cumbernauld College said that clearer progression routes through school, college and into university or employment would allow pupils to make more informed choices.
6.18 There was general support for older pupils being able to attend as college provision adds breadth to the curriculum.
6.19 East Ayrshire Council felt that consideration should be given to allowing some pupils to attend college on a full-time basis. However, one Council felt that these arrangements should not apply where pupil is still on the school roll. The Executive was asked by some respondents, including Inverclyde Council, to issue guidance on pupils that can study full-time in college.
6.20 The STUC advised that the national framework has to operate in a fair and transparent way based on needs of all pupils including the older age group.
Q15. How can we best make clear that we expect all schools to have links with colleges and ensure that colleges make appropriate provision for school pupils?
Further Education Sector
6.21 There was general agreement that the Executive should provide a clear strategic plan and appropriate funding which requires education authorities and colleges to collaborate as a strategic objective. College Operational Plans and School Development Plans should indicate the extent of school links and these should be part of the HMIE inspection criteria.
6.22 Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council stated that local policy statements and partnership/service level agreements should be drawn up to support and encourage local school/college links. Good early planning and effective dialogue are essential.
6.23 North Lanarkshire Council stressed the need to outline and publicise progression routes through vocational education stating course requirements, outcomes and equivalences using SCQF.
6.24 Moray Council said that HMIE has a role to play. If school/college links are to be made part of school/local authority inspection process both would be motivated to have made appropriate provision.
6.25 The STUC remarked that the provision of additional resources would support collaboration as well as ensuring that all stakeholders are informed and feel part of the process.
6.26 The National Deaf Children's Society commented that the duty of education authority to develop each young person to their fullest potential and to comply with National Priorities for Education. The legal duty is in section 2(1) of the Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000.
Q13. Given the Executive's Partnership Agreement commitment, to what extent should 14-16 year old pupils expect to undertake a further education course to develop vocational skills if they so chose?
No entitlement - but universal coverage
No entitlement - targeted coverage
Q14 Should any special arrangements be extended to older school pupils?