Building the Foundations of A LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY
PUPIL RESPONSES TO CONSULTATION LEAFLET
23.1 A leaflet specifically seeking the views of school pupils was issued alongside the consultation paper. The leaflet posed the following questions:
"If you already go to college or you are being taught in school by a college staff member for part of your school week, we want to know...
- Why did you choose further education?
- What do you feel you get out of it?
- Do you enjoy it? What are your likes/dislikes?
- Should anything be done differently?
- What more, if anything, do you want out of the experience?
If you don't go to college and you are not taught in school by a college staff member for part of your school week, we want to know...
- Is this because you were not given the chance? If this is the reason, would you if you were given a chance?
- If it is because you chose not to, why did you make that choice?
- What can we do to make you more interested in going to college or being taught by a college staff member for part of your school week?"
23.2 The following is a summary of the responses received to the leaflet.
Why Did You Choose Further Education?
23.3 The majority of pupils chose FE to either achieve a further qualification or learn a trade which was not available in school. Several were interested in tasting what college life would be like with many choosing the subject in which they were either interested in or interested in having a career in. Some also felt that it would help to give them a flavour of what higher education would be like and help prepare them for university. Some pupils felt that by attending college they would have more success in obtaining an apprenticeship. A few pupils said that attending college at this stage would reduce the number of years for a full-time course. The majority saw this as an opportunity to increase their chances of getting a job either after the course or later in life. Some pupils chose to attend FE as a way of opting out of school or avoiding subjects they did not like. A few pupils said that the subject which they had chosen did not fit in with their school timetable and so they had chosen FE as an alternative. The majority of pupils thought attending college would help them decide what courses and career paths to follow in the future.
What Do You Feel You Got Out of It?
23.4 The majority of pupils believed that they had gained experience and new skills by attending college. Several pupils felt that attending college had allowed them to become more responsible and independent. Their confidence has also grown. Most pupils said they had made new friends and had found the whole experience fun. Several pupils said that they had achieved qualifications. A few pupils said that education was now more of a learning experience and not just about passing exams. Several pupils felt that it had helped them make future decisions based on either their likes or dislikes of the subject and some felt that they were getting closer to getting a job.
Do You Enjoy It? What Are Your Likes/Dislikes?
23.5 The majority of pupils remarked that they had liked everything, with many saying they had particularly liked the more relaxed atmosphere and being treated like an adult. Most also felt that they had made new friends from the experience and that the staff had been helpful, particularly because of the smaller classes. A few pupils, on the other hand, felt that the lecturers expected too much and did not make allowance for their age. Two pupils said that they had experienced bulling while attending college. The majority of those on vocational training had enjoyed the practical side of the course although several had said that they had not liked the theory work. Some pupils did not enjoy their courses but acknowledged that it had helped them to make decisions about their future. One pupil reported that he changed course because he didn't like it, but that the second course introduced him to a trade (car mechanics) which he has subsequently pursued as a career. Most of those who had not enjoyed their course still said that they had gained new skills/experience out of it. A few pupils disliked having to travel. Some said that it was good to have a member of school staff accompany them to and from the college. One pupil had enjoyed the classes because of the mixed age group. One pupil had said the there was not enough space to work in. Several of those participating in hospitality courses said that the air conditioning had been a problem for them.
Should Anything Be Done Differently?
23.6 The majority of pupils did not have any dislikes and did not feel that anything should have been done differently. Most of those who currently attended college for a half day a week would prefer to attend for a full day. Several pupils said that they would prefer more practical experience and less theory. A number of pupils felt that they should have more breaks and finish at the same time as school. Some of the pupils in trades' courses suggested improvements - for example, those studying mechanics thought that it would be better to work on more modern cars, while those in the building trades wanted more experience on a construction site. One pupil suggested that there should be more publicity regarding the opportunities available to 14-16 year olds to attend college.
What More, If Anything, Do You Want Out of the Experience?
23.7 The majority of pupils hoped that this experience would ultimately help them get a job/career either now or in the future. Several pupils hoped to be able to gain an apprenticeship with a company. Many pupils wished to continue with college full-time. A few pupils hoped to gain qualifications to help them secure a place at university. Some pupils said that they had already achieved everything they wanted to from the experience. One pupil wanted to be able to tell others about the experience. Several pupils remarked that they would now like to gain more experience in the subject.
Comments From Pupils Who Didn't Attend College
23.8 East Ayrshire Council gathered several views from those who had not attended college. Of these responses several said they had not been given the opportunity either due to lack of places or because of the selection process, or had not been informed of the possibility. A number of pupils said that they would like to attend college, with some adding that it would be depending on what was on offer. Some pupils said that they wanted to stay at school to get their Standard and Higher grades.
23.9 Some pupils who decided not go to college said it was because they couldn't attend the course of their choice. For others it was because they were afraid of not knowing anyone or because they did not want to mix with pupils they knew were attending college. Several had suggested that an increase in the options available at college or taught by a college lecturer would make them more interested in attending.
23.10 Pupils of Plockton High School gave their views on the key issues of the consultation. Some pupils saw the purpose of the review as a way of informing them of what is available with one pupil believing that more would leave at the end of 4th year to begin apprenticeships. A few suggested that college lecturers could visit their school which is set in a rural location with no college nearby. All agreed that more communication between schools and colleges was needed. One pupil suggested open learning, possible visits or video conferencing as alternative methods.
23.11 The following responses were received.
Glasgow College of Food Technology
23 responses from S3 students from schools throughout Glasgow
18 responses from S4 students from schools throughout Glasgow
59 responses from S3 - S6
Hazelwood School - (College not named)
Plockton High School
4 responses from S6 pupils not attending college - rural school (views of how they could become involved)
3 individual responses
Total number of individual responses: 114.
East Ayrshire Council
Representatives of East Ayrshire pupils - numbers not given
Committee on Education, Church of Scotland
Views of some young people from residential setting who attended college.