SOME schools, academies and colleges specialise in vocational subjects and offer bespoke curriculums to help students on the way to their chosen careers.
Some have a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths)or health focus, while others specialise in the likes of music, dance and performing arts and broadcast media. Students can choose a range of subjects that are relevant to their chosen future career and can take advantage of industry-standard facilities.
These specialist schools, academies and colleges work in partnership with the industries so that students are able to apply their learning to the world of work. This ensures that they are fully equipped to successfully compete for places in Further Education or the increasingly competitive job market.
Specialist vocational qualifications are highly valued as they encourage and stimulate students’ achievement through practical learning and forms of assessment based on applied knowledge and understanding of the relevant subject area.
Level 3 vocational courses are broadly equivalent to 3 A-levels in the National Qualification Framework and are accepted for university entry via the UCAS points system. As well as a strong commitment to academic rigour and vocational excellence, they are also dedicated to the personal development, support and well being of students. There are also Studio Schools, which seek to address the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people require to succeed, and those that the traditional education system provides. They are usually small schools for 300 students; and with year round opening and a 9-5 working day,they feel more like a work place than a school.
Studio Schools will offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications. Students also get paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. Many collaborate both with local businesses and the biggest corporations to ensure pupils get a realistic insight into the industries and give the chance to participate in work placements. Students will gain a broad range of employability and life skills through the CREATE skills framework, and will have the option to go on to university, further training, and employment.
UNIVERSITY Technical Colleges( UTCs) are government-funded schools with a STEM focus.
Through their association with employers and universities, through project-based learning, and through a focus on technical subjects, UTCs bridge the gap between the world of education and the world of work.
Today, there are 48 UTCs open across England, educating in the region of 7,500 students, and supported by more than 400 employers and universities.
They aim to prepare students for future careers in industries such as engineering, healthcare, social care and science.
They offer a secondary-age education for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 with some starting earlier at Key Stage 3.
UTCs are said to be more than just a school. As well as providing a strong grounding in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, each UTC has one or more technical specialism linked to their local industry partners.
The curriculum provides a blend of academic and technical learning, with balance appropriate to each Key Stage.
They aim to offer young people the education they need today to equip them for tomorrow’s careers and students are given chances to gain real experience that is genuinely relevant to their future.
On leaving a UTC, students have already established connections with local employers, have applied practical skills through project-based learning and are used to working in a professional environment.
This makes them highly employable and sets them up for a broad choice of pathways.