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In the dark over vocational 'conspiracies'

Ian Nash concocts dark conspiracies out of matters that have been in the public domain since the Government published its action plan in response to the Beaumont Report on March 27 (Secret skills retreat ordered, TES, June 14).

It is no news to us, or to anyone who has read our action plan, that we favour a variety of assessment methods in national vocational qualifications or that we would like to see those vocational qualifications which are not currently within the NVQ framework brought within it, as components either of general national vocational qualifications or NVQs.

What is news to us is that we have apparently "secretly ordered" a shake-up of NVQs. This is completely wrong. We have given the National Council for Vocational Qualifications no guidance on NVQs since the published action plan.

More seriously, your leader column says that we view the NCVQ "with despair".

The opposite is the case; indeed we have not only entrusted NCVQ with carrying forward the action plan, but have further asked its advice on other important tasks arising from Sir Ron Dearing's report on 16-19 qualifications.

But I take some comfort from the fact that we are not the only ones mystified by Ian Nash.

Our contacts at the Confederation of British Industry are totally bemused by his reference to "confidential reports" allegedly circulating there.

LORD HENLEY Minister of State for Education Department for Education and Employment Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street London SW1

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