Diploma plan 'risks disaster'
The Government's new diploma programme threatens to be a disaster that will leave teenagers badly prepared for university or work, a report by the University of Buckingham claims.
The basic concept – one qualification which will combine practical skills with academic theory – is flawed, and will undermine educational standards, warn the report's authors, Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson.
The first five diplomas – in media, health, construction, IT and engineering – will be taught to 20,000 teenagers from September. Another 12 diplomas will follow. Ministers believe they could replace A-levels as "the qualification of choice" for students aged 14 to 19.
But the report argued that ministers wanted to scrap A-levels and GCSEs – an approach that "risks disaster". It was "extremely doubtful" whether the same qualification could prepare pupils both for an apprenticeship and for university. The report also expressed concern that the diploma will be assessed internally by teachers, "so it will be difficult to ensure comparability of standards in the same subject, let alone between them".
Most schools are unprepared for the new diplomas, and lack the expert teachers and specialist equipment needed, the report also warned.
The Schools minister, Jim Knight, dismissed the study as "one-sided carping". He added: "The diploma has garnered widespread backing from employers, universities, schools, colleges and education experts."
Ministers have promised to review secondary qualifications in 2013, and have refused to guarantee that A-levels and GCSEs will survive the review.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women's Day 2014: Mothers and daughters describe their hopes and dreams in touching photographs
International Women’s Day: 'I've just done what I damn well wanted to' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education is the largest ed...
£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Experienced English Teacher in Gr...
£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Group: Year 5 and KS2 Teachers wanted ...
£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: SEN English Teacher - Southend-On...