Rallying cry to save Diplomas

22 Sep 2010

 I've just chaired a conference on diplomas and was struck by the powerful sense of  determination out there in schools and colleges to ensure they survive.

 Speakers from schools /colleges where they have been teaching the diploma expressed anger that courses that are 'brilliant' educationally for their students are now facing political and financial obstructions.

Another speaker, representing the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies (SEMTA)  said the diplomas were doing exactly what employers in his sector wanted. He said he was so angry at the government's position on diplomas that 'I need counselling'.

The conference was given the latest figures from UCAS for university entry showing that the first batch of diploma students did as well as any other groups in the hunt for university places this summer.

Gareth Griffiths, Head of Curriculum and Qualifications Policy at the Young People's Learning Agency, said: ''it appears that we are here to fight a rearguard action to defend the diploma...it's down to schools and colleges out there to make it happen'.

Most speakers feared that the diplomas now face a major challenge, particularly over funding, but the majority view was that the qualification will still be there in 5 years time.

I will be writing more about this in my BBC News Online column this Saturday.




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