New colleges in the pipeline

AN EXPANSION in vocational education to meet Government demands may lead to new sixth form colleges being built in Ipswich and Babergh.A strategy for the development of education for those aged 14-19 was endorsed by Suffolk councillors yesterday after being told national proposals would include employer-designed qualifications being introduced covering 14 occupations.

AN EXPANSION in vocational education to meet Government demands may lead to new sixth form colleges being built in Ipswich and Babergh.

A strategy for the development of education for those aged 14-19 was endorsed by Suffolk councillors yesterday after being told national proposals would include employer-designed qualifications being introduced covering 14 occupations.

The controversial Education Bill, whose second reading is being debated in the House of Commons today, will place clear duties on local education authorities and the Learning and Skills Council to ensure there are sufficient vocational places available which are accessible to all younger people, including those with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said the county council would have to invest in vocational education which would appeal to the less academically gifted children in Suffolk.


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She said: “We have to ensure it appeal to the youngsters, motivates them, and end up giving them a job.

“Not all children want to go on to university. Others may not be gifted enough to get the necessary educational qualifications.

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“The development of more vocational courses is exciting and a lot of children in Suffolk will benefit from this initiative.”

The employer-designed qualifications will cover engineering, health and social care, IT, creative and media, construction and the built environment, manufacturing, hair and beauty, hospitality and catering, sport and leisure, public services, travel and tourism, public services, business administration and land services.

An implementation plan outlined in the Government's White Paper on 14-19 education stresses that no school or college acting on its own can hope to make the national entitlement available to students without close collaboration with other providers.

To cope with the demands for vocational education, new sixth form colleges will be needed in south-West Ipswich and Babergh.

These will be funded by the Learning and Skills Council, which will also organise a competition to determine which provider or partnership of partners should be asked to develop and operate them.

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