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Students 'spurn' curriculum

SIXTH-FORMERS will reject the chance of a broader education offered by the new curriculum, according to a survey of Hampshire students.

Under the Curriculum 2000 proposals, students will take five subjects to AS-level in their first year, taking three of these on to A-level in their second.

But the survey found that, rather than taking the chance to study something different, students were likely to choose extra subjects in line with their core A-level choices.

Jenny Fitton, principal of Taunton's College in Southampton, who organised the survey, said: "Some of us were hoping Curriculum 2000 might address the fall-off in numbers in the more traditional subjects. But the demand just was not there.

"Scientists were tending to opt for sciences and humanities students were tending to opt for humanities."

The survey quizzed 3,900 students at 10 sith-form colleges in the county - which has one of the highest concentrations of such institutions in the country.

Given a choice of 45 A-level and national vocational qualification courses from which to select additional options, the top 10 were film studies, psychology, law, media studies, photography, computing, sociology, information technology, PE and history. Modern languages, long recognised as an area of skill shortage, did not even figure in the top 15.

Ms Fitton said the top 10 choices were remarkably consistent across all the colleges, which ranged from rural to inner-city sites. She said: "If we are going to broaden the curriculum, a lot will depend on the advice students are given about how to choose their additional subjects.

"The message at the moment seems to be that things that are already popular will be even more popular."

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