Inspectors confirmed success of GNVQ pilot

3rd October 1997 at 01:00
Your report headed "Failing GNVQ pilot" (TES, September 19) says that "students taking the part one GNVQ pilot qualification are failing to achieve satisfactory standards".

In fact, the Office for Standards in Education report on which the item was based was sufficiently encouraging for Baroness Blackstone to express herself "delighted by the positive findings from the evaluation" and "committed to maintaining the momentum and success of the part one GNVQ Pilot". She announced that the pilot will be extended from 1998 as part of the Government's strategy to raise standards and improve skills.

OFSTED's own news release led with "Report highlights strengths of new part one GNVQ". The key findings were that "students have sustained a high level of commitment and employers are generally impressed by the standards achieved. " They say that the part one GNVQ is sufficiently challenging to be introduced nationally as a vocational option in key stage 4. The report says that students are strongly motivated by the opportunities to work more independently.

OFSTED also found that a high proportion of the work of students on the more demanding intermediate course is satisfactory, and much of it is good.

Certainly there are weaknesses to address. We need more teachers with appropriate vocational experience, and more links with industry. It is also important to strengthen the assessment of key skills and of GNVQ courses generally. The new Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which takes up the work next week, is committed to building on the improvements which the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority have already begun.

The part one GNVQ is a success story, the independent OFSTED evaluation report confirms this.

KEITH WELLER

Chief executive School Curriculum and Assessment Authority London W11

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