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New focus on technical and digital education

21 September 2017

Jersey’s Education Department is renewing its focus on technical education and the delivery of digital skills.

Jersey students can currently take alternative qualifications to GCSEs and A-levels in subjects such as healthcare, building trades and hospitality but participation rates are low compared to the UK.

The gap was recognised in the Education Department’s most recent Business Plan and work will now start to improve the availability and establish a high status programme of technical qualifications.

Chief Education Officer, Justin Donovan, said "GCSEs and A-levels are not the only path for our young people. Technical qualifications can be equally valuable in unlocking potential and helping a student to develop the skills they need in the workplace. As well as digital skills employers are looking for good communication, creativity and analytical thinking and we have to recognise that there is more than one way of developing skills."

The most recent data shows that 14% of Jersey pupils take vocational qualifications compared to 27% in the UK at level 3. The new project will be led by David Roworth, who is currently head teacher of Haute Vallée School and will take over the new role in January 2018.

Mr Donovan added "Mr Roworth has the precise skills we need to lead this important project. For the past 25 years he has worked in Jersey’s 11 to 16 secondary schools with the students who will benefit most from this kind of pathway. He is well known and highly regarded and during his time at Haute Vallée the school introduced student-led digital days that brought in local business expertise and digital entrepreneurs to work with students. This is exactly the kind of innovation we want to see more of."

Mr Roworth said "I look forward to working with the teams at the Education Department to drive this forward. It is a unique opportunity to improve social mobility through education and help all our students to get on and excel. I am passionate about the future of Jersey and the role our young people have to play in it."

He added "It will be a wrench to leave headship but this is an exciting opportunity and I will be working closely with schools for the benefit of our young people. I would especially like to thank the staff, students and parents of Haute Vallée for their support and will look forward to working with them all again in my new role."

Education Minister, Deputy Rod Bryans, said "Now that we’ve bedded in the huge changes with the GCSE system we can turn our focus to the area of technical education and digital skills. The aim is to broaden the type of education that is available to Jersey’s young people and that will ultimately give them better life chances and will provide our economy with well skilled workforce. I would like to thank Mr Roworth for taking on this important role. His skill set and his intimate knowledge of the challenges facing young people will prove invaluable."

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