Schools focus on university, say young Scots

Most young people in Scotland feel that schools prioritise university at the expense of other options, a survey shows

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Almost two-thirds of young people feel that university is the main focus of schools, according to a survey carried out by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee.

In the survey of 900 15- to 24-year-olds, many said they felt that “university was prioritised at the expense of other options”. Comments from those who completed the survey suggested a number of them received no information on what options were available after school, and 21 per cent of school leavers taking the survey said they left school not knowing what they wanted to do.

Work experience was the most common type of support available at school, according to the survey, whereas “life skills” like preparing for an interview were available for less than half of respondents – 47.7 per cent.

'University is just one choice'

The committee will now explore these issues in a new inquiry, which will examine the advice given to young people in school to ensure that, whichever path they take, relevant information is available. It will also look at the availability of vocational pathways in the senior phase. These two issues were recommendations made by the Commission for Developing the Young Workforce.

Committee convener James Dornan said: “Deciding what to do when you leave school is one of the most difficult and challenging decisions we ask our young people to take. For many people, their path will be clear, but for others there will be uncertainty about what the future holds. What is crucial is that young people are supported in making these decisions.

“University is just one choice for young people. Our committee wants to make sure that those choosing work, apprenticeships or college are given the same quality of information about these options to let them pursue the right path for them."

 

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