Specialist colleges to teach rock music and nuclear physics
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Colleges to teach rock music and nuclear physics

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  The Government is to open the first specialist nuclear academy - to train thousands of people for work in the industry.

The Nuclear Skills Academy will be for students over the age of 16 and is one of seven focusing on different areas of the economy announced by Education Secretary Alan Johnson yesterday.

They are designed to offer a vocational alternative to students of sixth-form age - plus help train adults in new skills.

All the academies will be sponsored by the different industries which will devise the courses to meet their needs. Most courses will be delivered in the workplace or through distance learning - although some will take place in designated state-of-the-art centres.

Ministers will be earmarking £90m for the project - and expecting each industry to plough a further £3m into its own academy.

Each academy is designed to represent an industry with at least 500,000 people working in it - leading to speculation that it makes an expansion of the nuclear industry inevitable.

However, Mr Johnson insisted: "Even without any build-up which may or may not happen it is needed for the industry as it is now."

Tony Blair said: "It is vital that we continue to improve skills right across the board and I am very pleased that we are able to launch the first academies today."

Others include the Creative and Cultural Industries Academy, which will focus on "backstage" skills in areas such as lighting, sound and production management.

Feargal Sharkey, the former front man of the Undertones, is a key figure in promoting the academy as the chairman of the Live Music Forum.

He told of one rock band that had been forced to delay a major two-year world tour by three months - because there was no one in the UK with the management skills required.

He said the growth of rock music in China had also led to British companies sending their lighting technicians there to provide back-up for rock tours, leaving a staff shortage here.

In all, ministers are planning to establish 12 national academies by 2008. The first three - in manufacturing, construction and financial services - will be up and running this year.

Those for the nuclear, chemical, hospitality and creative and cultural industries are now working out their individual business plans with a view to starting next year. The five other academies will be announced next year.

Meanwhile, figures published yesterday by admissions service Ucas are the first sign that student numbers will fall again next year, the second year of top-up fees. They reveal a 0.6 per cent drop in applications compared to last year.

The seven new vocational academies

* Construction: Starts this year at sites in London, Norwich, Manchester and Leeds. Sponsors include Balfour Beatty and Costain.

* Chemistry: Designed to train the technicians needed to support scientific research.

* Creative and Cultural: To ensure enough trained backstage staff for the theatre, film and music industries. Open next year.

* Financial Services: Starts this year and aims to tackle staff shortages in areas such as customer service and administration. Sponsors include Norwich Union and Nationwide.

* Hospitality: Will train employees for the catering industry and to staff hotels and leisure centres.

* Manufacturing: Starts this year and aims to recruit 40,000 students by 2012 for courses up to business and management level.

* Nuclear: Expected to attract sponsors from major employers. Planned to start in 2007





                                                                                News by Independent   Published: 01 November 2006

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university | studying languages | wrestling | Elisa di Rivombrosa | LECCE | business | Language course in Italy to learn to speak Italian language | The Government risks causing irrevocable damage to education All headteachers will be required to promote "community cohesion" under compromise plans agreed by peers to defuse the row over faith schools. | Return | The compromise was agreed yesterday as peers debated an attempt by the former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker to ensure that all new faith schools accept at least a quarter of pupils from other religions or none. | Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Education, was accused of executing the "fastest U-turn in British political history" last week when he dropped the plan after agreeing a voluntary deal to set aside places for non-church pupils in faith schools. | The Education minister Lord Adonis told peers that the compromise plans would "ensure that all schools are held to account for their contribution in this important aspect" of their work. | "The best and most effective way to promote community cohesion is to lay a duty to promote community cohesion on the governing body of all schools," he said. "This will, of course, extend beyond faith schools, whether new or existing, and will embrace all schools, whatever their admissions policy, which will make it more effective, we believe." | Lord Baker welcomed the move as a step in the right direction, but insisted that his attempt to establish quotas for non-faith pupils in religious schools was still needed. He told peers: "There would be no desire to stage Romeo and Juliet between a Muslim school and an Anglican school for every page of Romeo and Juliet is against the Koran. I suspect there won't be a great desire to stage a combined King Lear as filial devotion is not exactly what it ought to be. So I ask your lordships to be realistic about this." | Lord Ahmed, a Labour peer, said: "It's wrong just to target faith schools. If you go to Bradford, Leicester or Southall you will find state schools with 98 per cent or 99 per cent children from one community. Yes, community cohesion has to be taught and promoted, but in every school, and we all need to do it." | Lord Dearing, a former government education adviser, said: "I say to Lord Baker, I join with others in thanking him for promoting, nay provoking, this amendment, and I'm glad to hear support. This is the kind of thing we need faith schools and state schools to be doing." But he added: "There are Church of England schools which are predominately children from Muslim faiths and they get on and it works."
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