Publication this week of the long-awaited Dearing proposals for post-16 qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will lead to a major review of youth training and the National Record of Achievement in Scotland as well as elsewhere in the UK.
The main recommendations from Sir Ron Dearing, chairman of the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority, do not apply to Scotland but cover the same ground as the Higher Still reforms, identifying similar problems and arriving at remarkably similar conclusions.
The Scottish Office confirmed on Wednesday that it would be fully involved in consultations over any shake-up in youth training and the record of achievement. Sir Ron proposes a system of national traineeships leading to apprenticeships to replace youth training, and restructured records of achievement that would follow students from age 13 into adult life.
The report proposes two separate but linked post-16 "pathways" covering A-levels and vocational qualifications, which is more in line with the Howie report in Scotland than with the unified structure of Higher Still. It also opts for a subsidiary A-level which may come to be equated with Highers, thus threatening the normal equivalence of three Highers to 2 A-levels.