Pupils under too much pressure to go to university

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There is too much pressure placed on young pupils to head for university, teachers believe, and conversely, too little connection between schools and local businesses.

According to a new study from independent education foundation, Edge, two thirds of teachers think there is too much emphasis on pupils getting a degree at a traditional university while over a third (39%) of teachers feel their institutions still offer too little practical and vocational learning.  Involvement with local businesses is seen as widely insufficient with fifty-nine per cent stating that their school or college does not offer enough opportunity for students to learn with local companies.

The study was conducted among over 1,000 teachers and FE lecturers in the state and independent sectors.  Exploring their views on the current education system, it shows widespread teacher support for a greater emphasis on practical and vocational pathways – and broad agreement that these routes help pupils to succeed.

Andy Powell, Chief Executive of Edge said: “Teachers know large parts of the system are too academically biased, they recognise a balanced approach is better and they are tellingly concerned that local businesses have insufficient involvement in pupils’ learning in schools.

Although 59 per cent of teachers believe practical and vocational learning often leads to a good career, they also recognise their knowledge of the qualifications available falls short when compared to their understanding of academic routes.

Mr Powell adds: "We support the teachers’ views. There are many paths to success and we need a richer education with more real-world learning opportunities for young people.  Change is beginning to happen, but things are moving too slowly. This generation will be working in a global economy and will have to deal with extraordinary challenges - we have to ensure they are properly equipped."

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