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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Top schools push pupils away from universities | The Times

"Private schools are encouraging more pupils to learn a trade as they move away from pushing all students towards university" says

As pupils question whether degrees represent value for money, heads say that more companies were hiring those with technical and business skills
Photo: Getty Images
The numbers at independent schools taking Btec vocational qualifications at a standard equivalent to A levels has doubled in the past four years, analysis by The Times has found.

Head teachers said that they were increasingly advising students to take a different path from the traditional university route.

With pupils questioning whether degrees give value for money, heads said that more companies were hiring those with technical and business skills.

Independent school students are taking Btecs in subjects such as construction, animal management, engineering and agriculture to prepare for the workplace. Fewer than half who take the vocational qualifications at sixth form go to university.

As well as the rise in Btecs, bright school-leavers are being encouraged to go straight into work through degree apprenticeships. Popular in the City and engineering, these allow students to learn to degree level while working on practical projects and being paid. 

Julian Thomas, master at Wellington College, which held its first degree apprenticeship conference this year, said: “We’re seeing only the beginnings of a shift in perception. It feels to me like the blue touchpaper is being lit on what could be a higher education revolution. 

From the moment that tuition fees trebled, the shift in perception became inevitable. There’s a sense of greater questioning whether or not university is the right route for everyone. The level of student debt is shocking. At the same time, I speak to a number of CEOs of big companies and they say graduates are not well prepared for work.” 

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) has published figures on sixth-form qualifications taken at 452 schools this summer. The number of entries for Btecs rose by a fifth compared with last year. An analysis of previous years’ figures shows the number of Btecs taken at ISC schools has more than doubled since 2013.
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Eton deputy head leaves school after economics exam paper leak by Will Worley, The Times.

Pupils at Eton, above, have had their grades for an economics test cancelled after an investigation found that exam security had been compromised
Photo: Matthew Fearn/PA /PA
"A deputy headmaster at Eton College has left the school amid allegations that he shared exam papers with teachers before sixth formers sat the test."

Source: The Times