There is still time to get things right. This year was always intended to be a pilot year for the new qualifications. I believe three significant changes are needed if Diplomas are to succeed and young people are to have a good set of choices once post-16 compulsion comes into force.
First, plans for the academic Diplomas should be dropped to make clear that Diplomas are a different but strong choice for students, not a replacement for A-levels. Schools and colleges that want to take a more rigorous and diverse academic approach should positively be encouraged to take up the IB – as many are already doing off their own bat.
Second, there should be a marketing campaign that focuses on the individual strengths of individual Diplomas rather than the generic structure of the exam, with big-name employers nationally and smaller firms locally putting their weight behind Diplomas in their sector. Good careers advice for every student will be vital, particularly as the school leaving age is raised.
Third, the government should do more to sell Apprenticeships from age 14 upwards as part of the choices available to teenagers. Some young people will want a more work-based route than Diplomas offer, and this should be a clearer option for those who do.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Giving Diplomas a boost
I have a piece in the recent edition of The House Magazine about Diplomas and the options for teenagers after GCSEs, where I argue that the government needs to take action to ensure their success. Here's an extract: