Headteachers block matriculation plans

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The Independent Online

Plans to introduce a diploma for 19-year-olds that lists achievements and qualifications – to help with university enrolment or job applications – have been forced back to the drawing board after universal hostility from headteachers.

Plans to introduce a diploma for 19-year-olds that lists achievements and qualifications – to help with university enrolment or job applications – have been forced back to the drawing board after universal hostility from headteachers.

Both private and state school heads told ministers they believe plans for the "matriculation diploma", outlined in a Green Paper earlier this year, are unworkable.

Ministers devised the plan in an attempt to offer universities and potential employers a broader picture of young people's capabilities. They also saw it as crucial in ending the divide in esteem between academic and vocational qualifications.

The diploma would have recorded extra-curricular and voluntary activities, giving employers an insight into the individual's character.

Under the original plans, youngsters would receive an "intermediate" diploma if they achieved at least five A* to C grade GCSE passes, "advanced" if they passed two A-levels and one AS, and "higher" if they had at least grades A, B and B at A-level plus an AS level to show breadth of study.

Headteachers believe the plans for different grades of certificate would destroy the point of the diplomas.

Some are now arguing the Government should revert to proposals favoured by Tony Blair a year ago – to introduce US-style graduation ceremonies for pupils when they leave aged 18 or 19.

The first schools to pioneer these ceremonies – a group of comprehensives in Surrey – will stage them this September. Pupils will be given a certificate that records all their achievements, including work out of school and qualifications. There will be only one level of certificate for all pupils.

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