Thursday, 10 February 2011

Could This Man Change the Face of Scottish Education?

Scotland's richest man, Jim McColl (pictured), is to open his own school in a disused factory in Cathcart.  The factory is part of his Clyde Union business.  He left school at 16 and now owns an empire which stretches to 90 companies in 30 countries.

Mr McColl is 'very concerned' at the levels of youth unemployment in Scotland and plans to open the new school, which will provide engineering studies, by the end of this year at the latest.  The vocational education provided, plus the promise of a future job, will be aimed at pupils between 14 and 16 (third year pupils).

“We have to do something,” said Mr McColl, who is also the chairman of the Glasgow Works Partnership Board.
“The idea came to me when we had some young people apply to work with us, but the truth is they just weren’t up to it. But I didn’t want to give up on them. I’m very keen on training people. I think that very often there is a big mismatch between capability and employment.
“Some people are very good at certain things, but they don’t realise it until they are shown.”

He said: “I’m hoping this will become a new model for the way schools and industry work together. We’ll start with 30 pupils, but we want to build that up. We have capacity for 80.”

Doesn't this show how much the comprehensive system has let down a generation of young people?  I've long advocated that the loss of the secondary modern school was also a loss to Scotland's educational system.

Providing young people with modern apprenticeships isn't good enough.  They should not have to wait until they leave school before they begin a vocational course of study. We need to follow England's decision to reintroduce technical schools.

Mr McColl has the right idea offering 14 to 16 year olds a place in his new school and I hope his school is a monumental success.  Maybe then politicians and educationalists will realise the one-size-fits-all comprehensive system has failed.



English Pensioner said...

It'll fail for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, with the relatively small number of entrants, there will need to be some form of selection, which politicians will ensure is not compatible with the school's objectives.
Then, the educational authorities will somehow manage to tie it up in paperwork, and the Health & Safety zealots will prevent the use of any machinery which is obviously needed to provide any practical engineering experience.
I went to a technical college, and feel that I got a far better engineering training that I ever would have done at university. As a result, later in life I was respected by my staff who knew that, in the limit, I could turn my hand to the task in question and do it myself!

subrosa said...

Of course there will be selection EP. This man will make sure of that. Why wouldn't there be? It's the lack of selection that has got us in the state we are. Children who have no interest in having an academic career don't have a chance to study anything else until they leave school.

All these zealots best be careful when dealing with this chap. I believe he doesn't tolerate fools.

Yes and I've been saying technical schools and colleges should be reinstated because so many children are missing out.

Edward Spalton said...

Congratualtions to Mr. McColl.
Sir Anthony Bamford (of JCB) has done much the same thing at Rocester near his main factory. It is a marvellous thing to have done.

Such strong characters will stand a good chance against the entrenched "progressive" educational consensus which, in the past, has overcome Education Ministers easily.

This morning I walked past our local comprehensive and there was a crowd of children demonstrating against the proposal to turn the school into an "academy" free of local authority control. The children had NASUWT placards and banners, so they must have received some adult encouragement.

With benefit of hindsight, I guess that many of my teachers were Labour supporters although they never gave us the least hint. I cannot imagine them allowing this sort of thing to happen.

Mind you, they were outraged in the mid Fifties when the Labour leader of the District Council gave away the real reason for the County Council's Comprehensive plan. "Good, working class lads go to grammar school, get good jobs and vote Tory. We're going to put a stop to that". I've never forgotten it.

Of course, the comprehensives did for the technical schools too.

Whilst it was the Labour public schoolboy, Anthony Crossland, who set the central government wheels in motion "to close every f*****g grammar school in the country" (as he expressed it privately), Margaret Thatcher was the Education Minister who closed down most. Yet she later blamed Labour for it. But that's women for you!

Billy said...

I see that Sir Anthony Bamford (of JCB) is importing lots of tools, power tools etc from China that B @ Q is filling their shelves up with in replacement of manufacturers such as Stanely etc which are made here in the UK.

Yes these people are doing a lot for the jobs in this country? - Don't let them kid you!

subrosa said...

Edward, why are children permitted to protest like this when they should be in class studying.

Neither labour nor the tories come out of the education system well in the past 30 years. I remember when I lived in Shropshire they tried to divide schooling into 3, with a junior school, middle school and senior school. I'm told it's still the same today but the result aren't any better than anywhere else.

subrosa said...

Billy, our tool makers are now so depleted maybe he can't get the volume here. Then again, big business will buy where it's cheapest and best. True, it doesn't do anything for the country.

Related Posts with Thumbnails