A set of personal targets to show the complete student

3rd March 2000 at 00:00
Newham Sixth Form College, in east London, has developed its own college diploma, which recognises students' skills and experiences. Although it has aspects in common with the new FE qualification, Newham's diploma is geared to local needs.

The college has some 1,900 full-time students aged 16 to 19, evenly distributed between A-levels, GNVQ or BTEC advanced, and intermediate, foundation or entry level.

Newham's diploma gives them a set of personal targets. With help from tutors, students track their performance in four categories - academic performance, attendance and punctuality, employability skills and the wider curriculum.

Students can get involved in activities outside the classroom, all of which count. This includes voluntary work in local hospitals and schools, sport, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh Award and the performing arts. And in the collee itself, there is a "buddy" scheme, where they can offer other students support.

Newham's principal, Sid Hughes, says the award was developed partly in response to the needs of local employers, who seek attributes such as time-management, good basic skills, and motivation, alongside regular vocational skills.

"It has much more to do with student motivation and encouraging a sense of personal direction than adding yet further certification to a curriculum already dominated by qualifications," he says.

"Regardless of the route chosen, all students will at some stage need to present themselves for competitive selection for employment, a university place or both.

"Through the college diploma, we are attempting to present their personal achievements in a way that will be easily understood and their value recognised by those doing the selection."

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