The Tories and the Diplomas



Martin Allen

TES  letter 18/09/09


I’m no fan of the diplomas, but I do have some sympathy for those teachers and lecturers working hard to deliver them.

Rather than being genuine alternatives, the diplomas have ended up being the ‘worst of both worlds’ mimicking the academic qualifications they seek equality of status with and consequently alienating the very students the government has designed them for.  A similar fate met the GNVQ when it was re launched first as an ‘applied’ A-level. Student numbers nose dived as schools and particularly colleges, returned to the BTEC style courses that GNVQ was supposed to replace.

As your editorial (11/09/09)  implies, vocational qualifications will never be able to achieve parity while academic education continues to exist in the way that it does and be the only route of entry to established universities. The Tories may well abolish the diplomas but they won’t be anymore successful at improving the status of vocational learning. There again, they probably don’t want to!

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