New diploma to record progress

Progress files for S1-S6 pupils are being banished from North Lanarkshire's secondary schools and replaced by a diploma that records achievements across the social, creative, cultural, sporting, academic, moral and spiritual range.

Michael O'Neill, director of education, believes the North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) Diploma will be less repetitive, more pupil and teacher-friendly, and a better way of telling prospective employers about the non-examinable aspects of a young person's education.

He has also suggested it to the Scottish Executive as a template for Peter Peacock's proposal to reform the recognition of pupil achievements between S1 and S3.

Mr O'Neill said: "The diploma will show that students have been involved in a wide range of activities and have a number of achievements to be proud of, besides academic qualifications. It will give an indication of the kind of people they have become as they make the transition into adulthood and the world beyond school.

"We hope that the diploma will help young people to feel more confident about their achievements and qualities and will give a more rounded picture of their interests, efforts and abilities."

Under the scheme, pupils themselves are responsible for deciding what should be included within a portfolio of evidence, year on year through secondary.

This could be anything from serving as a member for the school's eco committee (under the environment heading) to running a charity race (under health) to doing work experience at a local business (community).

Teachers in all subjects will be expected to help students decide which pieces of work, contributions or achievements should be included in the portfolio of evidence. This process means that the progress file will be replaced by a reduced and more focused set of activities for each year group.

The diploma will take the form of a certificate recording the student's best achievements under each of the categories: values and citizenship, community, personal interests and activities, enterprise, skills for the future, environment and health.

The certificate will be supported by the portfolio of evidence. In addition to the local authority's logos and the student's name and school, the diploma will also carry the badge of the Certificate of British Industry (CBI) and will be signed by the headteacher and the director of education.

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