American trip to prepare for US-style education changes

A GROUP of senior school staff took a trip to America to help prepare for a shake-up of the education system. Students in North Somerset could be studying vocational, work-related, courses at schools as well as their GCSEs and A-levels from 2008. The chan

A GROUP of senior school staff took a trip to America to help prepare for a shake-up of the education system.Students in North Somerset could be studying vocational, work-related, courses at schools as well as their GCSEs and A-levels from 2008.The change is part of a shake-up of the education system being introduced across the country by the Government.The group of senior school staff from North Somerset and an educational advisor visited Maryland in America to look at the courses on offer there.Martin Kerrison, a consultant advisor to North Somerset Council, was one of those on the trip. He said: "In Maryland they have something called career technology education and it's along the lines of what our Government is looking at."Students in Maryland can study 10 vocational areas. In this country, 14 will be available. Students can select from them and follow any one of these lines."Areas of study likely to be available in North Somerset will include health and social care, information and computing technology and creative and media studies. Students would get diplomas in these areas as well as studying for the more academic GCSEs and A-levels."Students could go to different schools or colleges to take the courses," said Mr Kerrison."Not all schools will be able to offer all the courses."It's about broadening the curriculum available to students."The teachers who went on the trip were Lynne Puckey from Churchill, Lesley Howson from Wyvern, Tracy Towler from Baytree, Gillian Kelly from Nailsea, Stewart Elson from Worle and Deborah Means from Ravenswood.During a busy week they were able to visit schools, a college and the state's department of education.Mrs Puckey said: "We learned an awful lot that will be useful in our planning in North Somerset as we prepare for the changes being introduced nationally over the next seven years.


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