‘Work is a key part of school’

Heather Peacock
Heather Peacock
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An angry mum has vowed to take her teenage son out of lessons so he can get some valuable work experience.

Mother-of-two Heather Peacock has complained about proposals by her son’s newly converted academy to scrap the compulsory two-week work experience for year 10 pupils.

Instead, Bishop Rawstorne CE at Croston, plans to hold a two week careers convention at the end of the year.

Lecturer and ex-nurse Heather said she is appalled that this “vital” experience is being stopped “at a time when there are so many young people out of work and who desperately need the life skills that work experience can provide.”

She added: “I know of many parents who feel the same as I do.

“The headteacher basically said he felt it important for the students to have work experience, however the governors and himself had decided against.”

Work experience is currently a compulsory part of the curriculum in state schools, though the Government is consulting on plans to divert the cash to over 16s. Academies are free to manage their own curriculum.

Mrs Peacock, who lives in Bretherton, near Preston, said she was worried academic achievement of the school was “more important than the work skills of the students. Which in this economic environment is totally unacceptable, employers are looking for work skills - future employees with more than a degree.

“I feel very strongly that our children are losing out on valuable workability skills. Their future is in our hands and this is a bad decision to have made in today’s world.”

She added that she will ensure her 15-year-old son gets “at least a week’s experience in industry to help him shape his future career.”

Bishop Rawstorne headteacher Alan Davies said: “In line with all Chorley schools we will not be delivering a work experience placement.

“The changes in government policy now mean that all students post 16 will undertake some form of work experience and this has been moved from the expectation that some form of work experience should be delivered pre-16.

“However, Bishop Rawstorne will be delivering to all year 10 students a programme of skills enhancement at the end of this academic year.”

The head of the new Chorley Career and Sixth Form Academy, Dr Bulvinder Michael, said new research suggests the more young people come into contact with employers while they are at school, the less likely they are to go on to be unemployed.

The Forum of Private Business has condemned government proposals to scrap mandatory work experience for GCSE pupils fearing it will “further reduce the number of work-ready youngsters entering the job market.”