Exam hall

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An educational advisor is visiting the Isle of Man to aid discussions on the future of its education system

The Isle of Man should decide its own future for education rather than “wait for the rest of the world”, a visiting educational advisor has said.

Dave Harris said the island should not aim to simply “copy” other jurisdictions in the British Isles.

Mr Harris is on the island to aid discussions on the future of Manx education over the next 20-30 years.

He is an author, former head teacher and has worked as a consultant for the Manx government for eight years.

UK-based Mr Harris said the curriculum needed to provide a “balance of all things” and secondary school education on the Isle of Man and elsewhere in the British Isles still focussed too much on exam results.

Ballakermeen High School head teacher Adrienne Burnett said Manx secondary schools were more than “exam factories” but they “lagged behind” in offering vocational courses.

Vocational courses have become available at the island’s five state secondary schools in recent years but students must attend the University College Isle of Man to do them.

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Educational advisor Dave Harris has been working with the Isle of Man government for eight years

Previously, the Manx curriculum was centred around England’s exam system but that changed following the reform to GCSEs in 2015, which saw changes in how pupils were assessed.

Following a consultation with the public, Manx pupils now take the International GCSE in most subjects.

Ramsey Grammar School head teacher Annette Baker said there was an opportunity for the Isle of Man to “carve its own path” but warned of decisions being made for the “wrong reasons”.

The Isle of Man should “revisit” the decision to split from the English GCSEs and the island would be “shooting itself in the foot” if it did not learn from other jurisdictions, she added.

The Department of Education, Sport and Culture said education must be “meaningful” and “serve real world purposes” for those leaving school in the coming decades.


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