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

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