Smells like teen spirit

10th March 2006 at 00:00
Teenage years present adolescents and all those around them with many of life's big challenges. As if it wasn't enough coping with hormones, we also expect teenagers to be laying the foundations for their - and the country's - economic future. The hope of the Government, through the Learning and Skills Council, and its partners, is that the 14-19 agenda will help clear the often impenetrable path to skills and qualifications, and therefore give teenagers one less thing to battle against as they try to reach their potential.

To fulfill the agenda's promise, ministers are relying on schools, colleges and employers to reinvent themselves by forming partnerships that will allow teenagers to move between them, gathering the education and training they need, when and where they need it.

The first step was to review the local provision for teenagers, and find ways to erase the traditional line between academic and vocational. This StAR process, though not always welcomed, has created innovative partnerships (page 4). Not least are the effective alliances between schools and colleges that have helped compensate for limitations of individual schools (page 6). Evidence of success can be seen in the stories of a few of the teenagers whose lives have been turned around (page 8).

Another success story has been employers' rekindled enthusiasm for apprenticeships (page 10), which needs to be kept alight if the UK is to get close to filling its predicted skills gaps over the coming decade (page 11).

But as students navigate the Hundred Acre Woods (page 14) that is post-14 education, they'll need guidance from dedicated teachers and trainers, but who will be looking out for them? (page 15).

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