University of Leicester eBulletin

New Perspectives on Sixth Form Colleges

May 2002
No 102

Results of new research into the role of sixth form colleges from the perspective of students, teachers and managers will be discussed at a University of Leicester conference on May 22.

The research reveals: 

       Young people really value the option of a sixth form college but it is not available to all

       Sixth form colleges are much more varied in their student body than the public view   assumes

       The new Curriculum 2000 has brought benefits to students but some aspects are undermining genuine learning

      The level and current method of distributing funds is leading schools and colleges into actions which are not in the best interests of students.

The conference, to be opened by Ivan Lewis, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Young People and Learning, will focus attention on aspects of sixth form colleges which have not received proportionate interest to their contribution.

Researchers from the University of Leicester Educational Management Development Unit, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, probed the views of people involved in sixth form colleges in order to stimulate debate on future development of the sector.

Dr Jacky Lumby, of the University of Leicester's Northampton centre, said: "The Learning and Skills sector has been increasingly recognised as crucial to the economic and social well being of the country, providing education and training to nearly four million students.

"Relatively little research has focussed on the work of sixth form colleges, despite the fact that about 200,000 16-19 year olds attend sixth form colleges, achieving good examination results and many going on to higher education.

"Discussion of the work of sixth form colleges is very timely. The Government is currently consulting on plans to develop the curriculum for 14 -19 year olds to ensure that all young people in this age group get the best opportunities possible.

"The contribution of sixth form colleges both to the government's developing plans and to efforts to raise participation in HE is therefore important."

         Sixth Form Colleges, Policy, Purpose and Practice is being held at the Thistle Hotel, Birmingham on May 22.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK:  For more information, please contact Dr Lumby on 01733 263867. On May 22, please ring the hotel on 0870 333 9126 and ask for a message to be conveyed to Dr Lumby at the conference.

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