New diplomas are on course

I would like to reassure you that, far from the impression given in The TES ("Signs of trouble for new diplomas", July 28), the new diplomas are well on track to be delivered in 2008.

Following several months of hard work by the first five of the Diploma Development Partnerships new, exciting, genuinely industry-verified content has been developed.

First teaching will commence in 2008 for ICT; health and social care; engineering; creative and media; and construction and the built environment.

This is a major achievement, the success of which has resulted from a real dialogue between employers and educators, led by the sector skills councils working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Department for Education and Skills.

It is true that, in order to create the diplomas, we are working across organisations and to tight deadlines. Effective project management and the commitment of all involved - notably the sector skills councils - will ensure they are delivered on time and to the highest quality, meeting the needs of learners and employers.

Critically, we must improve the future skills base of this country and we need to increase dramatically the number of young people who continue in education and training post-16. Diplomas are the vehicle to achieve these goals. They will ensure that young people gain an in-depth learning experience, in the context of their chosen employment sector, as well as creative, team working, personal learning and thinking skills - skills that are vital for success in higher education and employment and vital to the economic future of our country.

Teresa Bergin

Head of sector

Qualification Reform

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 83 Piccadilly London W1

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