Hallam, S., Rogers, L., Rhamie, J., Shaw, J., Rees, E., Haskins, H., Blackmore, J. and Hallam, J.
Pupils' perceptions of an alternative curriculum: Skill Force
Research Papers in Education, 22, (1), . (doi:10.1080/02671520601152078).
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Alternative curricula at Key Stage 4 have been implemented to help young people who may be disaffected from school to re-engage with learning. Skill Force is one example of an alternative curriculum. Skill Force is a Ministry of Defence (MoD) sponsored youth initiative which offers 14-16 year old students a key skills based vocational alternative to the traditional curriculum. This research explored pupils' perceptions of participation in Skill Force and the perceived impact on their motivation, attitudes to school, attendance, exclusion, behaviour, and attainment. Seven hundred and ninety five Skill Force students completed a questionnaire which explored aspects of their experience using open questions and rating scales. Visits were made to six project where interviews were undertaken with nstudents. The qualitative data were used to provide in depth insights and support the questionnaire data. The findings demonstrated that the programme was successful in meeting the needs of many disaffected students, improving their motivation, confidence, communication and social skills. It reduced exclusions, improved behaviour, attendance, attitudes towards education and attainment and also provided students with a range of practical, vocational qualifications. The discussion considers the implications for mainstream education.
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