College options were being explored for school pupils 30 years ago, at least by Norman Leitch, depute principal of Esk Valley College in Dalkeith (TESS, January 30, 1976):
"The six-year secondary school has as its pupils young children and those who are legally adult. It is doubtful if this is in the best interests of the older pupils: they are liable to be regarded as children and treated accordingly, both by teachers and by people outsidethe school.
"On the other hand, their contemporaries who have left school tend to be regarded as adults, so there is pressure on able pupils to leave school and be lost to full-time education.
"Mr John Grant-Wood has suggested that we could consider transferring pupils out of school after S4. This could prove to be a valuable extension of comprehensive education to the 16 to 18age-group.
"Further education colleges have facilities which are appropriate to students of all levels of ability. In these times of economic stringency, we must make the best possible use of scarce resources.
"Our S6 pupils are those on whom we shall depend in a few years to safeguard our quality of life. They are our future innovators and managers.
We owe it to them and ourselves to help them to make the best possible use of their time in education.
"It is often said that our most able students spurn a career in commerce or industry because it does not seem to provide sufficient intellectual stimulus.
"Full-time education in a further education college could give students experience of engineering or commerce which is not available in schools, and make students aware of the intellectual challenge of these fieldsof activity.
"The facilities and more adult environment of the further education college might attract students whodo not want to go into S6at school."