Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Raising Education Age Gives New Hope

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Raising Education Age Gives New Hope

Article excerpt

Byline: By Nicola Juncar

Government plans could save schools

New Government proposals could hold the key to protecting the future of some secondary schools on Tyneside.

The fall in pupil numbers was cited as one of the main reasons for a borough-wide review into secondary education in Gateshead agreed by cabinet members this week.

Gateshead council's director for learning and schools, David Mitchell, said he predicts there will be 1,500 less young people in its secondary schools in the next ten years.

However, it's possible the Government's 14 to 19 agenda and recent proposals to raise the school leaving age to 18 could solve the problem of surplus places and save schools from being downsized or closed.

Mr Mitchell said he wanted the review to focus on where money ( including Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Building Schools for the Future (BSF) funding ( should be spent, but also on improving post-16 provision.

The 14 to 19 agenda will see the Government introducing 14 specialised Diplomas aiming to cover all sectors of the economy and the first five Diplomas will be ready for teaching by next year.

And, earlier this month, Education Secretary Alan Johnson said he was considering proposals to raise the school leaving age to 18, so pupils could continue their education or vocational training.

Under these proposals, and Mr Mitchell's ambitions to ensure all Gateshead secondaries offer sixth form facilities, more young people will be staying on at school after the age of 16. …

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