Pupil cuts class to cut hair

TEENAGER Charlotte Jephcote skips her school lessons every Wednesday to study hair and beauty at a further education college.

Like a third of students in her year at Etone community school in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the 15-year-old has been given permission to take a vocational course off the school site at nearby North Warwickshire and Hinkley college for one day each week.

"It feels like a break," she said, "and when we see each other again we have all done different things."

Etone prides itself on its diverse curriculum, offering NVQs to all its key stage 4 students and allowing some to have a few hours of languages classes each week instead of preparing for a language GCSE.

It also provides extra lessons for gifted pupils and more than a quarter of its Year 11 students will take an AS exam a year early - a high proportion for a school attended predominantly by pupils from deprived areas.

Headteacher Peter Kingham believes Etone offers a glimpse of the type of flexible curriculum the Government hopes to create in its revamp of 14-19 education. And, he says, behaviour problems and exclusions have plummeted since the changes were introduced.

"I like to think that our success has in some way influenced the Green Paper," he said. "We've always been a go-ahead school and have never had a curriculum that sat still."

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