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Work is not an easy option

JANE Wharton's article "Making the school fit the child" (TES, March 3) suggests, among other contentions, that "the growing trend of allowing troubled and disaffected teenagers to leave the classroom for the workplace should be reversed".

Work-related learning is not an "exit-strategy" to push pupils into the workplace. Neither is it true to say that it is used because schools cannot provide the right environment for learning.

To also imply that this is a "dumbed-down form of education" bears no relationship to the reality. Good schools see the complementary nature of what happens at school, in the college and in the workplace as essential in adding relevance to the experience of particular pupils.

Our evidence suggests that, when planned well, work-related programmes give back to youngsters a reason for learning and, in many instances, the self-esteem and motivation that they had lost. You only have to look at the improved attendance figures of many of them to realise that something has happened.

Alan Rawlings

Senior secondary inspectoradviser

Hampshire County Council

Winchester

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