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By the numbers - Vocational courses

Schools are dropping vocational courses even though many think they are of value to pupils, according to a survey.

The poll of 252 headteachers, carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank and supported by the Edge Foundation, a charity that promotes practical learning, found that 60 per cent had either already cut vocational qualifications or were planning to do so.

Education secretary Michael Gove announced last year that many qualifications would no longer be given equivalence to GCSEs in the school performance tables. Most of the school leaders who were cutting vocational provision said they were doing it because of these changes.

Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, said: "We want high quality vocational qualifications to achieve parity alongside other educational routes for young people. Our concern is that in attempting to guarantee quality the government has used a sledgehammer to crack the nut."

3,175 - Number of vocational qualifications approved to be taught to 14- to 16-year-olds in January 2012.

125 - Number of vocational qualifications that will count towards league tables in 2014.

70 - Number of vocational qualifications that will count towards the percentage of pupils gaining five GCSEs at A*-C from 2014.

60% of schools that have cut or are planning to cut vocational provision

40% of schools cutting courses as a result of changes to league tables

85% of schools that believe vocational courses have value

15% of schools that do not believe the courses are valuable.

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