COLLEGES SAY they will miss out on a crucial chance to prepare for the new 14-19 diplomas because of a delay in the publication of the full details of the qualifications.
The Association of Colleges had wanted consortia of colleges and schools to use the quiet time after this summer's exams to look at the diplomas and identify the skills they will need to teach them. But the full content of the first five diplomas will not be published by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority until later this year.
Earlier this month the QCA gave August 1 as publication date, but this week a spokesman said this was not definite. Full details of the first five diplomas will not be available until later in the year.
Maggie Scott, director of learning and quality with the AoC, said: "We could be tooling up for the following year, but it doesn't look like that will be possible."
She said the AoC has been pressing the Department for Education and Skills to help partnerships of colleges and schools to do skills audits before training for lecturers and management begins next term. "We wanted to map that exercise against what the (workforce development) agencies will be delivering in the Autumn," she said. "It's an opportunity lost."
The first five diplomas are in engineering, society, health and development, construction and the built environment, IT, and creative and media. One hundred and forty-five groups of colleges, training providers and schools have been approved to offer the qualifications from September 2008.
Support for teachers, leaders and exam officers is being offered by agencies including the Quality Improvement Agency, the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, and Lifelong Learning UK. Teacher training will start in October. Leaders and managers will get support, including coaching, workshops and seminars.
One manager of 14-19 provision at a college which is to offer the diplomas from 2008 said it would have to plan for staff training without the full qualification specifications.
The University and College Union is also worried that the timeline will not allow enough time for staff development.
A spokesman for the QCA said: "The AoC makes a fair point and we will make every effort to get information into the public domain as early as possible."