Council has rethink over Falkirk school course

Falkirk High School will offer the new engineering science Higher''Picture: John Devlin (130301)
Falkirk High School will offer the new engineering science Higher''Picture: John Devlin (130301)

Education chiefs have had an about-turn over a decision to axe an engineering course from the Highers being offered to senior pupils.

After the move was highlighted by The Falkirk Herald two weeks ago, school officials have had a rethink.

Over a dozen pupils at St Mungo’s High handed in a petition asking for tech studies to be reinstated in next session’s curriculum.

A dad who raised the concerns said he was stunned that his son couldn’t study the subject which gave a basic grounding in engineering in fifth year – but could learn about ‘creative cake making’.

James Bruce said: “The decision to remove the course is detrimental to the future education of not only my own son but the rest of the class who wish to take the Higher course.

“It is extremely beneficial for building the foundations for an engineering career to allow students to gain experience in specific areas of engineering.”

Experts also highlighted the importance of encouraging young people to study the subject.

Stephen Tetlow, chief executive of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, said: “There is still a widespread failure to grasp the scale of the skills gap facing the UK. We need 100,000 professionals each year to give our country any chance of sustainable growth for the future.”

But this week a Falkirk Council spokesman said youngsters would now be able to study a new Higher engineering science course at Falkirk High.

He said: “Pupils wishing to take the new course will now be able to go to Falkirk High on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons next session as part of the council’s well-established consortium arrangement between schools.

“Altogether, 40 places will be available at Falkirk High, with pupils in Denny High also taking the new course outwith the consortium. A total of 60 places will therefore be available between the two schools to cater for the new course.

“Meanwhile, pupils in S5 and S6 are being offered an HNC in electrical engineering at Forth Valley College, again at consortium times.”

Welcoming the development, Mr Bruce said: “This looks like a positive step in the interests of the pupils and I await further details. However, I’m disappointed it is not at St Mungo’s.”