British Secondary Vocational Settings, in Pictures (mostly)

I’ve been organizing the photos I took of school settings for 16 – 18 year-olds across England last year. I thought they might be interesting for some who have recently asked me about the differences in vocational education here in the U.S. when compared to England.

Students in most European and Asian countries have a choice to leave the academic high school setting at around the age of 16 and attend vocational or technical schools full-time, or take on paid apprenticeships or other work-based training.

The college pictured below had a huge Art, Fashion, & Design program with large workrooms for learning textile design, costume design, garment construction, and fashion.

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Hair and Beauty schools were popular, and well-equipped, throughout many colleges I visited, although many young people chose an apprenticeship route to gain their qualifications in Hair and Beauty as well.

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The setting shown below had an equine studies program:


The large, rural campus also offered training in Animal Care, that could prepare a student for the field of Veterinary Medicine, among other qualifications. It also offered qualifications in Horticulture and Countryside Management. I could imagine many of the students I serve choosing this type of program.


Below, I visited a much smaller vocational setting, but its Automotive program was sponsored by Snap-On Tools, so that students could work toward passing tests to become certified to use specific Snap-On equipment.


The garage was a working business as well, and was offering a special on winterizing vehicles on the day I visited.


Students were required to keep detailed records of vehicle service.IMG_0415

Snap-On provided an array of high-tech diagnostic and repair equipment to the college.


Instructors were industry-certified, with experience in the field.IMG_0423

The college below offered a Building Trades program, with a large workshop for learning plumbing and electrical skills.

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