JFS warns of ‘unrealistic expectations’ among parents

JFS warns of ‘unrealistic expectations’ among parents

School calls for 'cultural shift' to avoid putting unfair expectations on some pupils and boost take-up rates for BTEC qualifications.


Governors at the UK’s biggest Jewish school have cited the “unrealistic expectations” of parents regarding their children’s abilities as an “obstacle” to the take-up rates for BTEC qualifications.

The comments came at a meeting of the Governing Body of JFS in London earlier this year, attended by 11 Governors plus headteacher Rachel Fink, deputy head Simon Appleman and chair Geraldine Fainer.

The minutes of the meeting, released under a Freedom of Information request and posted online, reveal Governors identifying parents as the problem when it came to their children choosing whether to do BTECs or not.

“The only BTEC course that had really taken off at JFS so far had been Business Studies at KS4, but staff were attempting now to establish which Year 9 pupils might be better suited to follow and would benefit more from a BTEC rather than a more academic GCSE course,” the minutes record.

“To make BTECs more attractive required a cultural shift to overcome the obstacle of parents who were unrealistic about their children’s capabilities.”

They added: “Funding would be needed for additional help to deal effectively with pupils with significant behavioural issues and those with other needs not sufficiently acute to attract Local Authority additional funding.”

BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) vocational qualifications are taken in more than 100 countries at all levels, from pre-GCSE to Degree equivalent, but in the UK they can carry a stigma, often perpetuated by parents who feel that university is the only route to success.

Traditionally, JFS students have moved to West Herts College to do BTECs such as plumbing, which require large workshops and for which the school is not resourced. Level 3 BTECs satisfy the entry criteria for apprenticeships.

Last year the school said it was “developing the range of options, such as a BTEC in applied science, for those who want to continue with sciences but did not get the grades to study at A-Level”.

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