Leaving school at 18 - A call for real skills training

The government have said that they would like to raise the school leaving age to 18 today. There has been a large amount of general agreement on this issue, but any change will require a massive change in the way schools are focussed.

Coming hot on the heels of the government changin the way GCSE results are measured for the purpose of school league tables, where vocational GCSE's no longer help boost a schools rating, the idea of keeping a further 20% of pupils at school, usually the 20% who get the least from school, those who struggle the most to learn and stay on task, means that new courses have got to be run.

Will schools teach bricklaying, joinery, plumbing, plastering, in fact all the skills that there are massive shortages of ? If not, why not ? If we are to keep children at school until the age of 18 then why not send them out equipped to do real jobs. A plastered would earn more than I do as a teacher, so why do we let people leave school at 16 without a qualification and without hope and without direction when they could be given a skill that would set them up for life ?

In general, I support the idea, but under no cirumstances do I want this to be a means of the government manipulating jobless figures. If we keep people on, let's not expect them all to be brain surgeons or astronauts. We need electricians, builders and mechanics.

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