Champion of 14-19 agenda bows out

7th November 2008 at 00:00

David Hopkins left school at 16 and says he did not "make it" in a career until he was 30. This goes a long way to explaining why Caerphilly's director of education, who retires next month, is a fervent supporter of Wales's 14-19 skills agenda. But so does the reality of poor attendance in his authority, particularly by boys.

Mr Hopkins, director since 2000, has looked to England for his inspiration in creating an alternative curriculum, directing his attentions at three English authorities, including Wolverhampton.

Caerphilly now has a 14-19 development unit, the first of its kind in Wales, where heads and FE principals are collaborating to work out shared timetables and a harvest of subject choices.

"Any student over 16 used to have a choice of just over 20 A-levels, with little vocational choice," he said. "They now have access to over 40 choices, vocational or otherwise."

But Mr Hopkins sees huge challenges ahead for Wales's 14-19 agenda as he bows out, although he takes heart from outcomes in Wolverhampton.

Caerphilly is one of Wales's smaller authorities. Last year Estyn inspectors criticised the poor performance of the authority's teenage boys at key stage 4.

"We've looked very closely at our schools since then and some buck the trend," said Mr Hopkins. "I'd say the curriculum needs to be more boy-friendly. But if some schools are doing the business, we should be able to learn from what they are doing right."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now