Diplomas: who will risk being the guinea-pigs?

13 Feb 2008

 I'm just back from a fascinating conference run by UCAS on 14-19 curriculum changes. Not surprisingly, Diplomas were at the heart of most school and college representatives' concerns.

 Many are convinced that the Diplomas are a good thing but the big worries were:

1. How do you responsibly persuade students (and parents) to go for Diploma courses at Advanced Level when you cannot be sure that they are a) here to stay and b) will be welcomed by all universities for all types of courses.

2. how to overcome the potentially overwhelming timetabling issues.

3. how to move students around between consortia partner schools in rural areas.

4. how to overcome the issue that many schools are in competition with their neighbours (this was particularly a concern of independent schools)  yet the Diploma requires collaboration. 

 As I say, much was encouraging for Diploma supporters but there was a sense of risk-taking in being amongst the early guinea-pigs. Various university admissions officers made it clear that, although  their institutions are well disposed to the Diplomas, they could not yet say what the attitude of subject Admissions  Tutors would be (although there was very warm support for the Engineering Diploma) /

 It does seem that if Diplomas are to work there will have to be enough people willing to take a leap of  faith first. 

Your thoughts are welcome whether you are in a school/college, a student, a parent or in university admissions.



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