‘Schools pushing teenagers into A-levels and university’

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TEENAGERS feel “pushed into A-levels and university” by teachers who do not tell them about vocational alternatives, a meeting heard.

Berkhamsted Youth Town Council gathered earlier this month to discuss survey of young people that they had conducted.

It found that some students would like more jobs and careers advice.

Councillor Gemma Dalton said: “I felt when I was at school that they just concentrate on the ones with the highest grades.”

Council clerk Clare Muir said: “Children are being pushed into doing A-levels and university.”

Councillor Ailish Brown said: “It is about school competitiveness – they want to get the best results on the league tables.”

Berkhamsted town councillor Garrick Stevens, who was at the meeting, said he used to be a governor at the town’s Ashlyns School in Chesham Road.

He said: “There is enormous pressure on schools to try and get maximum numbers through A-levels. A few years ago, there was a major study on alternative pathways through education.

“It was turned down point blank, because in the culture that we live in, it is academic elitism that is driving education.”

Ashlyns School says it does teach vocational subjects and also works with other schools and colleges to make sure “the right kids are on the right courses.”

Headteacher James Shapland said: “There are very few schools which are big enough to be all things to all people at the post-16 level.”