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Diploma indecision

Plans for science to become the focus of a new 14-19 diploma qualifications have been put on hold. The subject will not be available at diploma level from 2010, as the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority recommended in December, but it may be launched in later years.

The plan was designed to offer an alternative to A-levels for pupils interested in careers in science. Because previous science courses, such as GNVQs and vocational A-levels and GCSEs, struggled to attract students, ministers have been unsure whether a science diploma would succeed.

Diplomas, which are work-related courses, will be available initially in five subjects, from engineering to creative and media, in selected schools and colleges from next year.

The delay in deciding on science means that the earliest this diploma could start would be 2011, a year after the last of the other 14 subjects begins.

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