What children really want from school

3rd October 2008 at 01:00

Standard grade course work should start in ^S2, say 63 per cent of Highland school-leavers, invited to give feedback on their education.

Highland Council asked two leavers from every secondary school from ^S4-6 to take part in SPICE, a Senior Pupil's Interactive Consultation Event held at an Inverness hotel last month. They were split into seven themed discussion groups and asked for their views on everything from school buildings to teaching, exams, transport and careers advice.

Teenagers discussing "the curriculum, teachinglearning and exams" said they would like exams spread throughout the year, and better use of senior pupils to support ^S1-2s. They wanted improved and compulsory life-skills education, more work-based course options and Standard grade course-work to start in ^S2.

The students discussing personal and social education classes wanted them delivered by "qualified, confident and comfortable" teachers with structured, up-to-date courses and individual drop-in sessions. They also wanted outside professionals like nurses, youth workers and police to be involved. Most thought it was unnecessary to sit an exam in PSE. They thought PSE should also happen informally at home and that feedback to parents from schools would be good.

The group discussing "achievement" said Duke of Edinburgh and MV (Millennimum Volunteering) Awards should be better promoted. They noted that "it is still mainly academic achievement being recognised" and there is a strong emphasis on sport. While achievements in music and drama are rewarded in some schools, pupils thought there should be more focus on them.

Highland Council's education, culture and sport service plans to review the comments and feed them back to schools to assist with the implementation of A Curriculum for Excellence.

The event was organised by a team from the department, including director Hugh Fraser, the youth convener, youth development team and young people from Highland Youth Voice, the elected youth parliament in Highland.

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