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Department works with heads to develop secondary education 3 December 2010

THE Department of Education and Children is working with headteachers to plan the secondary education of the future.

The initiative is being driven by the predicted fall in pupil numbers in some areas. In addition, there’s a need to create a broader base for learning, so that there are more advanced level vocational courses as well as academic courses.

Eddie Teare MHK, Minister for Education and Children, John Cain, Director, and other senior officers recently met with Sam Ellis, finance consultant with the Association of School and College Lecturers, and headteachers to begin shaping the way forward for secondary education.

The Minister said that pupil numbers are predicted to fall in some parts of the Island in the long term.

He said there is a need to maximise use of resources which includes high quality, well staffed school accommodation in the out of town schools. Links between schools (known as feeder schools) will need to be more rigorously adhered to, so students are not attending schools in different areas when their closest secondary school has spare places.

At present there are 43 subjects at A-level across the five secondary schools but in 13 of these subjects, there are five or fewer entrants, the Minister noted, and a way needs to be found to ‘group’ the learning for students taking these subjects.

‘There is the need to re-examine the formula for funding secondary schools and further improve the curriculum to ensure students are tackling relevant subjects in a vibrant atmosphere where they can exchange ideas with other learners,’ the Minister said.
‘In addition, while we are rightly proud of our outstanding academic record, we need to deliver a wider range of vocational training to students to better prepare them for the world of work.’

Stuart Dobson, Deputy Director of Education, said:

‘This review work will take place as rapidly as possible and will require a great deal of input and involvement from all five secondary schools, the Isle of Man College and other groups.
‘We hope to have a revised offer for students and begin its implementation in September 2012.’

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