Tables to make choice of new school easier?

TESTING TIMES: Will it be the academic or vocational route for your child? Photo: Chris Radburn.
TESTING TIMES: Will it be the academic or vocational route for your child? Photo: Chris Radburn.
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League tables due to be published this morning have been drawn up to give parents a more informed choice about the best school for their child.

Until now school performances in academic and vocational qualifications have been lumped together.

But now parents will be able to see which are the best academically and vocationally – and send their child to the school that best suits their talents.

Instead of putting together all of the results, the league tables now measure how schools perform in three different categories:

• A-levels

• Academic qualifications, which includes A-levels and others such as the International Baccalaureate

• Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications have an obvious link to a job and University Academy Holbeach offers a host of apprenticeships and vocational courses in subjects such as child care learning and development, hairdressing and motor vehicle maintenance and repair as well as a traditional mix of academic subjects.

A foundation apprenticeship is equal to five good GCSE passes while an advanced apprenticeship equals two A-levels.

University Academy Holbeach principal Steve Baragwanath said it’s important that academic and vocational qualifications are given equal status and that people recognise schools and pupils have worked hard over five years to achieve their results.

He said the only real difference between the academic and vocational route is “about what these young people want to do when they are older”.

Spalding Grammar School headteacher Nigel Ryan said change doesn’t always bring clarity.

He said: “To understand it, you have got to understand what academic and vocational qualifications are. I think it causes as much confusion as clarity.

“As with many of the other statistics, they seem on the surface to be very helpful, but sometimes they don’t give you a clear picture of what’s going on.”