Leaders in education have raised concerns as to the state of progress for students studying practical subjects. For practical subjects like coaching and construction, practical teaching is essential for learning and it is the most difficult to replace with online learning.
For both 16–18-year-olds and adult students in practical subjects, they are now working far below the normal standards at this point in the year.
77% of 16–18-year-olds are performing anywhere between one and four months behind, with 69% of adult students in a similar situation. To prevent students losing a year of study it is being recommended that:
- All college students should be funded at the same rate as 16 – 17-year-olds.
- Providing targeted support for the most disadvantaged 16 – 19-year-olds through a student premium similar to the pupil premium.
- Students should be entitled to the same hours of teaching as other OECD countries, which will fund extra-curricular activities such as sport, drama, music and volunteering that has declined during the pandemic.
For those in practical subjects like coaching, it’s important that their support should not be neglected, so they can retain those social skills that are essential to their subject. It has been advised that once students leave college that they not be neglected.
To tackle the lost year from pandemic restrictions, a flexible fund should be offered to students to help students through an extra year of study if necessary. For programmes offering vocational skills and training through employment, there should be a guided process to prevent confusing students, employers and colleges.
For more information on the recommendations for practical subjects see here.