Win a university place or a job at just 14

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
Hundreds of 14-year-olds in Wolverhampton are to be given a conditional offer of a place at university, college or a job.

From next spring, every Year 10 pupil in the city will be set clear targets for their GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications, and told which courses they can study to reach their aims.

If they get the right grades, a place at either a university, a college or with a major employer is guaranteed.

Five universities, Aston, Staffordshire, Aberystwyth, Wolverhampton and Manchester Metropolitan, two colleges and employers including Jaguar and JCB have signed up.

Youngsters, who are asked their interests and goals in the target-setting process, will not be offered a place at a specific institution. But the universities, colleges and employers are working on a deal that would guarantee places conditional on their achievement.

The scheme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain, fits with one of the biggest Tomlinson goals:giving disaffected youngsters a clearer sense of how exam success can open doors.

The "Choose a Real Deal" scheme has been put forward by a pilot 14-19 project co-ordinated by Wolverhampton council, which is testing several ideas that feature in the Tomlinson report, working with a Black Country project aiming to improve chances for the over-16s.

To help them choose, 14-year-olds will be able to attend events giving them a taste of university and college life.

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