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'Employers have been slow to take them up'

The Government is remarketing its failed National Record of Achievement as a 'tool for lifetime learning'. By Mark Whitehead. Youngsters leaving Morecombe High School in Lancashire at the age of 16 or 18 are likely to have a smart burgundy file marked National Record of Achievement under their arm, giving a full account of how they have spent their time.

Records of achievement have been a staple of life at the school for several years. The 1,000-pupil comprehensive was one of the pioneeers in the use of the records long before they were launched as a national scheme in 1991.

Every new pupil is given a diary and personal planner in which, every day, they write all the things they have done. Pupils review their personal planner every week with their tutor, and discuss what they hope to do in the future.

Each year their planner is put into a portfolio. In year 10 pupils begin the formal NRA system with a day spent looking over their portfolio and drafting their first personal statement which is updated every year until they leave.

The final record of achievement covers such areas as pesonal details, employment history and achievement, and copies of all certificates.

Deputy head Jackie Turner sees the NRA as a positive statement. "Every child has the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement," she said. "It helps them recognise what they have succeeded in and work on the areas they need to develop, rather than looking on it in a negative way as a list of weaknesses. "

But she admits, "Most employers have been very slow to take them up. A lot of them don't even know they exist."

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