Kids Want More Education But Fewer Exams

11/09/2009 18:10 | Updated 22 May 2015

Endless exams are a no, no for the nation's 10 – 25 year olds, according to the first Youth Commission Report, carried out by independent education foundation Edge. The report, which investigated young people's views on government plans to raise the participation age to 18 for 2013, discovered that young people are calling for more practical and vocational learning.

With 8 out of 10 youngsters aiming for a university place, the report revealed some important factors that would influence their decision to stay in education until 18...

Key findings

• 58 of youngsters would like more choice about what they learn.

• 18 feel that too much pressure and importance is placed on exam results.

• 42 listed social trips and experiences as the most enjoyable aspect of their education.

• Half of young people say that they learn best outside the classroom.

The commission, (which is also supported by the Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families), found that changes needed to be made to the education system to bring out the best in students. Rose Dowling from the Edge Learner Forum, who conducted the research said:

"The Government's plan to increase the participation age is widely recognised to be a good idea but it's vital that those extra two years in education are of benefit to all young people and that no one is left behind. The feedback from some young people is that many of them have already been turned off education and they are seriously concerned about more of the same. Their message adds volume to Edge's call for a revolution in education to make sure every young person's talents, whatever they happen to be, are recognised and nurtured.

"We've seen that practical and vocational learning motivates young people, so there needs to be more choice in both what and how they learn. Students should have access to many paths to success, including Diplomas, apprenticeships and traditional academic study."

The Youth Commission has set out a series of solutions to the problems raised within the report, including how the Edge Learner Forum intends to take them forward:

1. Overhaul careers advice.

2. Make the most of the power of teachers.

3. Promote pride in vocational learning.

4. More practical options, more flexibility.

5. Use financial support to raise success.

6. Raising the Participation age has to be done with young people, not to them.

To read a copy of the Youth Commission and to have your say on the recommendations, visit:

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