15/06/2010

Another great new idea from Essex

Posted in Apprenticeships, Education, Essex County Council, Industry, Jobs, Training at 2:42 pm by henrysgauntlet

Essex County Council continues to show itself to be a most innovative institution. 

Its latest project is designed both to help young people towards a qualification which will lead to a career path with potential high earnings, and also to help preserve an industry with an ageing workforce, which could lead to its dying out.

The project is the setting up of engineering apprenticeships, in partnership with three Colleges:  Harlow, the Colchester Institute and the Basildon Campus of South Essex College.   There is more about the project here, including an article in today’s Guardian.

Well done to Essex for another great idea.

29/03/2009

Three post-16 education centres in Grays – is this overkill?

Posted in Education, Training at 3:53 pm by henrysgauntlet

Happened  to see an advert in the local paper for teaching posts at Palmer’s College in Grays.   They were for Health & Social Care;  Psychology/Health & Social Care;  Business Education;  Business Technology;  Biology/Chemistry;  and Maths.

Now Palmer’s is a Sixth Form College.   It used to be the girls’ grammar school, being part of the Palmer’s Endowed Grammar Schools.   When Thurrock went comprehensive in the early 1970s, they went for 11-16 schools with sixth form education being provided at Palmer’s.   The old boys’ grammar school building was closed, and the girls’ school took 16 year olds from across the borough.   Now it seems to market itself just as Palmer’s College, dropping the Sixth Form from the name.

At the same time, there was the old Thurrock Technical College also in Grays providing non-academic courses for 16-18 year olds, together with adult education and sandwich courses in conjunction with local industry.   Then the “Technical” was dropped, and it became just Thurrock College.   Finally it merged with the failing Basildon College to become Thurrock and Basildon College with sites in Grays and in Basildon.

But over the years the lines have become blurred.   Thurrock College offers both academic and vocational courses, and Palmer’s, as can be seen from the advert, now offers vocational courses as well as its academic remit.   What’s more these two institutions sit opposite each other with just a bit of scrubland between them.

I have always been concerned about this duplication of resources, and now there is further confusion with what is called “Thurrock Learning Campus”, (dear god, how dumbed down is that), which seems to have been set up at Grays Riverside in a collection of container boxes and is supposed to be a state of the art centre for skills training!

So now we have three post-16 education providers in Grays.

Wouldn’t it be better to have either sixth forms at the secondary schools or go back to a dedicated sixth form centre for academic 16-18 education, and then to avoid all this duplication of provision for other post-16 education and training?   That way financial resources and teaching staff could be centred in one place which must make more economic sense.