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Snub for four-year degrees

Councils are likely to tell the Dearing inquiry into higher education that the four-year honours degree is dispensable.

A paper presented to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities today (Friday) argues that preservation of traditional degree structures is "a low priority" and will form the basis of oral evidence to the Dearing committee next Thursday, The controversial paper, written by Keir Bloomer, director of education in Clackmannan, suggests that the value of the extra Scottish degree year could be called into question as the Dearing committee wrestles with the resourcing of higher education.

Mr Bloomer says his views are backed by fellow directors Bob McKay of Perth and Kinross and Gordon Jeyes of Stirling, the education advisers to Cosla. They believe that the traditional argument that Scottish students enter university directly from fifth year at a younger age than their English counterparts is no longer tenable.

Unpublished figures from the careers service show that eight times as many pupils now go into higher education from S6 as from S5.

Mr Bloomer states: "Preserving the notion of an exit route from S5 into higher education, which is used by an ever decreasing number of young people, prevents any effective action being taken to maximise the benefit of the final year at school."

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