Teachers furious at plans for 'McDonald's diplomas'

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Teachers unions have condemned Gordon Brown's plan to allow McDonald's, the hamburger chain, to take part in A-level-style qualifications as a 'farce'.

The decision to allow McDonalds, the airline FlyBe and Network Rail to issue management training certificates up to the equivalent of A-level or degree level was seen by some critics as dumbing down qualifications. Sally Hunt, of the University and College Union, said although the union supported the need for transferrable qualifications, it was concerned about qualifications that were "narrow and specific to one organisation, like McDonald's".

Chris Keates, of the teaching union NASUWT, said: "It is a huge mistake to allow McDonald's, with its poor track record of employment practice and anti-trade union attitude, to pioneer private sector provision of training."

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said all three firms had been given "awarding body status" to level 3, equivalent to A-level or the advanced diploma.

McDonald's chief people officer, David Fairhurst, said: "We have had to achieve the same rigorous criteria as traditional awarding bodies." Graduates of the scheme in the US include George Bush's former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and the Amazon boss Jeff Bezos