Diploma envy?

5th December 2008 at 00:00

Perhaps the negative approach to diplomas of Bernard Trafford, the vice-chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, is more a sign of envy that the independent sector may not have the resources to deliver them as effectively as other sectors ("Diplomas threaten our independence", TES, November 28).

The diplomas' practical content tends to be focused on the foundation level because of the expectation that it will be taken by more learners with practicalvisual learning styles.

The higher level is both challenging and stimulating which is exactly what is required for learners who have become disillusioned with the sometimes tedious approach of the more traditional pathways. Dr Trafford does not provide an alternative solution for these learners who are growing in number.

Turning to work experience, ideally this should be subject based, but it is not essential. It needs to be marketed effectively to employers so that it can be used as a tool for future recruitment: many practitioners have expressed their disappointment that it is 10 days minimum.

Dr Stafford claims that "time spent away from academic study will damage their chances". Rubbish! If work experience is managed effectively, it will be a valuable learning experience reinforcing the diploma.

Roger Thomas, Trainer and writer for the environmental and land-based diploma, St Albans, Hertfordshire.

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