Diploma double-thinking flags up complexity of vocational debate

18th September 2009 at 01:00

I'm no fan of the Diplomas, but I do have some sympathy for teachers and lecturers working hard to deliver them.

Rather than being genuine alternatives, Diplomas have ended up being the worst of both worlds, mimicking the academic qualifications they seek equality of status with and consequently alienating the very students they were designed for.

A similar fate met the GNVQ when it was re-launched first as an "applied" A-level. Student numbers nosedived as schools and colleges returned to the BTEC-style courses that GNVQ was supposed to replace.

As your editorial implies (September 11), vocational qualifications will never be able to achieve parity while academic education continues to exist in the way that it does and be the only route of entry to established universities. The Tories may well abolish the Diplomas, but they won't be any more successful at improving the status of vocational learning. There again, they probably don't want to.

  • Dr Martin Allen, Hanwell.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today