I went to see the newly-built Skills Centre in the next town, which will serve three local high schools and teach them ‘vocational’ qualifications, such as building, hairdressing, car mechanics and engineering. The pupils who opt to go there are, on the whole, the less academically able and would do one of these subjects as the equivalent of two GCSEs, as well as the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. They go one day per week and do the written part of the course at school as well as their other lessons.
It’s very well designed and equipped and the pupils are mostly very keen. I rather wished I could have joined them there. I’d not be interested in the cookery (I can cook already) and hairdressing, but I’d have loved to have a go at the bricklaying, carpentry and car maintenance.