A Softer Option

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People are typically afraid of change, especially sudden change. I think it would be very difficult for a school to radically change its approach.

Here, I offer a couple of softer options for a five-year high school. Basically, create a new programme for the juniors (Years 1 and 2). In their third year, on becoming seniors, they could then choose whatever academic programme the school has on offer.

Option 1 - Junior Oriented

Junior Year 1: If there are eight classes of juniors then divide them into four streams. Let them choose their streams, where possible. As per this website, those streams would be Sports, Culture, Trades, and Academic.

Sports stream: Study two timetabled lines of sport, each targeting different aspects of sport (practical/health). In social studies/history class they would study sport related topics. In English they would read/write on sports related texts. Other subjects such as maths and science would likewise focus on sport related material where possible. Their entire year would have a strong focus on sport yet at the same time they would still cover the basics of other subjects. Likewise for the Culture and Trades streams. Science for Sport would have more biology. Science for Trades would be more practical. Those choosing the Academic stream would have a more typical school education, but having made that choice, they would probably fare quite well.

Junior Year 2: A certain school might have a two-year programme for each stream. Or, they may necessitate that each student chooses a new stream. Or, if resourceful, they may offer both choices. The academic streamers should be allowed to study for two years if they so wish.

Senior Years 3-5: Students would be free to choose normal school subjects as per the national curriculum. Having studied something of their own choice in depth for the previous one or two years will give most students, especially those at the lower end, a feeling of achievement that normal programmes cannot deliver. Some may continue with what they have been doing (sports or tech or cultural related studies); some may aim for the more academic.

Once successful, this programme could be converted more fully to that offered herein at a later date.

Option 2 - Senior Oriented

Keep the current school system in place and add various academies, especially for non-university-oriented seniors who are looking to gain job-specific or useful life skills before they leave school. Some schools are already starting to do this but it is quite limited and sporadic. There could be a school-oriented approach that has say: Sports Academy; Cultural Academy; Trades Academy; Academic Academy.

Another idea could be that individual departments have their own academies, but this would probably result in more administrative work. Examples might be: Sport - Football Academy; Culture - Music Academy and Languages Academy; Trades - Metalwork Academy; Academic - Maths Academy. Things like this are slowly starting to happen and I think adopting a school-wide approach would be more successful.

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Schools need to adapt to 21st Century needs and those that do so are likely to become more popular in their regions.

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Last updated: 02/25/18.