Diplomas: Big selling job needed

22 Sep 2007

Isn't it amazing how fast the new Diplomas are racing up on us. They start in less than a year. But how many parents or students have even heard of them, let alone know what they really involve?

And even those who do know about Diplomas seem to be confused. Are they vocational qualifications? Are they specialised? Are they practical?

This confusion is potentially fatal for these much-needed new courses and qualifications -- much needed because they could be a real answer to engaging young people in education and in meeting the country's skills needs.

The problem is the old British disease: snobbery towards vocational and practical learning!

The government is so fearful that the Diplomas will be seen as second-class that they have banned the use of the V-word ('vocational') anywhere near the Diplomas.

They have also dropped the first part of the original name: 'Specialised Diplomas'.

The confusion is a great shame because these Diplomas must work. They will be available at all ages from 14 to 19 and at different levels. The QCA has started to give the detail of the four levels of Diplomas and of the grades they will contain. It is worth a look. http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_10325.aspx

Meanwhile, for more on this topic have a look at my column this week on the BBC News website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7007121.stm

There is also a very useful podcast from a conference on Diplomas I chaired with Neil Stewart Associates this week at: www.policyreview.tv.

User Comments

Jim Evers - 29 Sep 2007

School Management

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