Falkirk pupils get head start at Forth Valley college

Forth Valley College campus in Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen (C091044)
Forth Valley College campus in Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen (C091044)

More than 300 Falkirk youngsters a year are starting their higher education studies while they are still at school.

Pupils in S4, S5 and S6 are accessing a range of courses at Forth Valley College which are not available at their secondaries.

By working on SQA-accredited courses, young people are getting a head start in areas such as engineering, child care, hospitality and salon services.

Last week, members of Falkirk Council’s education executive welcomed the news that the partnership between Falkirk Council’s education services and the college was going strong.

Councillor Alan Nimmo, education spokesman, said: “There has been a significant level of national interest in this.

“Over 300 youngsters a year are attending the college. This is a stepping stone to university.”

Members of the executive also heard from college principal Ken Thomson who said developments in the partnership courses were continuing to increase young people’s chances of securing a place at college or university.

He added: “At the start of August 2013, two new initiatives were developed to increase opportunities for young people attending Falkirk secondary schools. These are in addition to the courses already on offer.

“The courses are pretty unique in a Scottish context, providing a seamless progression to a college course.”

New initiatives include the SCOTS course, a year-long programme which gives youngsters information on options available, taster sessions in eight different subjects and a better understanding of what life is like after school.

The executive heard over 120 Falkirk youngsters were now on the SCOTS course.

Council leader Craig Martin said: “I attended the launch of this at the college recently and it was fantastic to see pupils already there and working on courses they are interested in.”