GNVQ pilot cannot in any way be described as a failure

10th October 1997 at 01:00
Your claim (TES, September 19) that the pilot part one general national vocational qualification has "failed" is simply not substantiated by the facts, as a cursory reading of the main findings of the Office for Standards in Education report will confirm.

While the report points out aspects of the qualification which need attention, it concludes by saying "the part one GNVQ is a sufficiently challenging course to be introduced nationally as one of the vocational options in the key stage 4 curriculum".

How can this be interpreted as failure?

The OFSTED report is an analysis of the qualification's strengths and weaknesses. Your brief summary concentrates wholly on the pilot's shortcomings, and makes no mention of its successes.

The press release that accompanied the report bears the headline "OFSTED report highlights strengths of new part one GNVQ".

It underlines the commitment shown by students and teachers and says "HM inspectors found that a high proportion of the work of more able students on intermediate courses is satisfactory and much of it is good".

Employer representatives who accompanied HM inspectors on school visits were generally impressed by the standards achieved by students.

It would be unfortunate if teachers and students who have worked hard to pilot the part one GNVQ felt that their efforts had resulted in failure, when the reverse is true.

You could go some way towards repairing the damage by printing a more balanced account of the findings of the OFSTED report.

David West

HM Inspector Head of post-compulsory education Office for Standards in Education Alexandra House 33 Kingsway, London WC2

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,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today