charters part two
1970-1989 page 2
Paul's immediate task was to galvanise the academic department to meet the increasing demands of a more comprehensively educated populace and, also, to satisfy the needs of parents and students to provide an alternative route if vocational aspirations fell short. It was Paul, some ten years earlier, who pre-empted Prime Minister Tony Blair's mantra: "Education, Education, Education!"
The school intake was generally at secondary level, between the ages of eleven and sixteen years. There would be exceptions depending on the non-academic talent of the individual. It was not always desirable to encourage students below the lower age as it could result in remedial tuition and having to remain in the junior class for two years - in extreme cases, more. However, at the other end of the scale there was greater latitude and many students, particularly from overseas, may have been eighteen or even older depending on their needs.
The inherent nature of the vocational training offered precluded the demand for normal academic standardisation unlike selection
processes for other educational establishments. Hence there was a socio-intellectual dimension which had to be constantly addressed. However, such mixed ability in a closely-knit community did engender a culture of warm and supportive relationships. This provided a unique environment within which the individual could develop his or her special abilities in a way other establishments may have been unable to.
Bush Davies again, typically, led the field in a renaissance in educational values and other schools gradually followed its example. One innovation at the time was to pay teachers according to the nationally recognised Burnham Scale. In addition, although it had no binding commitment to do so, it accepted government guidelines for a national curriculum.
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