Building the Foundations of A LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY
Q17. How should the potential role that further education colleges may play in a pupil's curriculum choices best be identified? What role should Careers Scotland play in this process?
Further Education Sector
8.1 Respondents generally agreed that Careers Scotland has a key role to play in providing a well informed guidance service to assist pupils make informed choices. Careers Scotland should be involved in informing school/college partnerships, providing focused guidance to pupils, and co-ordinating the development of school guidance staff.
8.2 The Scottish Further Education Unit advised that it was important that Careers Scotland should be fully aware of what college can offer and what restrictions are placed on specific programmes. Cumbernauld College said that S1/S2 pupils would have to be fully engaged in making appropriate curriculum choices indicating that Careers Scotland had a key role to play in helping this happen.
8.3 Banff & Buchan College, Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, Glenrothes College, and Glasgow College of Food Technology stated that there was a training issue for school guidance and other school staff in what colleges can provide.
8.4 The Association of Scottish Colleges highlighted the importance of well resourced, well informed guidance. It is essential that Careers Scotland and other guidance agencies are involved in bringing parity of esteem to craft and vocational qualifications and skills.
8.5 There was wide support for the inclusion of college opportunities in course options booklets. Highland Council said that it is important that pupils are given relevant information to make informed choice. Careers Scotland should play a full role at all stages discussing option choices and helping to determine present employment needs.
8.6 Moray Council and Falkirk Council said that it was important that parents/carers/school staff are involved and informed through activities such as college staff visiting school and attending parents evenings.
8.7 Most respondents acknowledged the role which Careers Scotland can play in providing high quality advice and information to pupils.
8.8 Highlands & Islands Enterprise advised that Careers Scotland has a role in promoting career education in schools, advising on progression pathways, assisting individuals make informed choices, harnessing the contribution of business and using local market information to support teaching staff and lecturers' collaboration. Scottish Enterprise advised that Careers Scotland would require additional resources. Further discussion on the future role of Careers Scotland would be welcomed.
Q18. How should the suitability of pupils for college be assessed?
Further Education Sector
8.9 There was general agreement that selection should be a joint activity based on agreed selection criteria with the college retaining right to decline pupils if they felt that they would not benefit from the programme on offer.
8.10 Shetland College said that pupils need to show genuine desire/motivation to attend. Glasgow College of Building & Printing commented that it is essential that it is not just underachieving pupils who should participate as this will widen the academic divide.
8.11 Respondents generally agreed that the suitability of pupils to attend should be done in collaboration between school staff who know pupils best, college staff, careers advisers, pupils and parents. Aberdeenshire Council said that pupils who desire to go to college should be objectively selected with the school using criteria drawn up in line with authority guidelines. Kirkcaldy 16+ Group said that each programme should have its own admission criteria giving an entitlement to apply.
8.12 Dumfries & Galloway Council (Education & Community Services) said that school based staff can provide detail on issues relating to maturity, behaviour, academic/vocational nature of the course. East Renfrewshire Council advised that college provision is a quality alternative and not simply "courses for bad boys". The Equal Opportunities Commission felt that much more needs to be done to address the roots of learners' disaffection.
8.13 The responses generally indicated that the suitability of pupil for college should be assessed on an individual basis and reflect the choice of the pupil. It should be a positive move not an escape route.
8.14 The STUC said that a needs based system will identify why a pupil is suitable - educational need, maturity, learning ability and personal development. The Institution of Electrical Engineers advised that academic performance appropriate to course demand, career interest, support by guidance teacher, buy-in from pupil and parent should all be considered.
Further Education Sector
8.15 There was general support for Personal Learning Plans, which were seen as useful vehicles for establishing educational and vocational objectives. Glasgow College of Building & Printing and Elmwood College viewed them as absolutely essential. There was a split of opinion on whether they should be mandatory. The significant resource implications of this were mentioned by some.
8.16 The Scottish Further Education Unit advised that there are significant guidance overheads and the plans require exchange of information which raises Data Protection issues which require to be teased out nationally.
8.17 There was agreement that a common framework should be used by schools and colleges for tracking pupils progress and achievement but there was divided opinion on whether personal learning plans, which were not sufficiently developed, would at present be an appropriate vehicle. It was also indicated that there are considerable resource implications. Glasgow City Council highlighted the implications for workload priority if they were mandatory. Priority for use should be given to looked after children and those with additional support needs.
8.18 Kirkcaldy 16+ Group said that plans allowed more structure to the year with meaningful targets being set and the rights and responsibilities of pupils stated.
8.19 The EIS stated that the development of personal learning plans within further education has been very limited.
8.20 The National Deaf Children's Society and Highlands Enterprise agreed that these should not be mandatory but should be considered for those who have additional support needs
Q19. Can Personal Learning Plans be a useful vehicle to support school pupils who make use of learning opportunities in colleges? If so, should they be mandatory for such pupils?
Yes - useful
No - not useful
Mandatory for all
Mandatory for Additional Support Needs only