HC Deb 19 December 1989 vol 164 c208W
33. Mr. Richard Shepherd

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has for the future of 16-to-19 education.

58. Mr. McAvoy

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to increase the numbers of 16 to 19-year-olds participating in full-time education.

Mr. Jackson

The Government are committed to increasing the participation of 16 to 19-year-olds in education and training, and believe that every young person should either be in full-time education or in a job with time off for good quality training.

Recent examination reforms and the Education Reform Act will raise standards in schools giving more young people the qualifications and the motivation to stay on in full-time education. This is the key to improving participation. In 1988, after the first year of the GCSE examination, staying on rates for 16 and 17-year-olds rose to a record level. The Government wish to ensure that young people continuing their education at age 16 have access to a range of opportunities that will equip them with the general skills, knowledge and understanding they will need for adult and working life. Young people will have the choice of pursuing that goal through either the academic route—comprising mainly A and AS courses—or the vocational route—where they can choose from courses leading to about 4,000 qualifications. My right hon. Friend has asked the Schools Examinations and Assessment Council and the National Curriculum Council to work with the main vocational bodies to advise on the core skills that A/AS level students should develop and how work on them should be built into the A/AS curriculum.

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