The realities of vocational learning

13th June 2008 at 01:00
I was disappointed by your recent diploma stories, the latest of them last week
I was disappointed by your recent diploma stories, the latest of them last week. This negative approach undermines the work of many educationists who believe the qualification is a necessary addition to help widen assessment opportunities for our students.

The points in your article are undoubtedly valid, but what it fails to address in any detail is that the diploma assessment criteria cry out for applied learning experiences. Employers and educationists are aware of this, and you ignore the many hours that students will be in direct contact with industry professionals, when assignments will be supported by the industry resource base, and computer simulations will bring the placement to the student. As well as site visits, work experience will still take place and it will be "on site" where possible.

I have worked in systems employing a range of qualifications, from the three international baccalaureate programmes to A-level, Btec and GNVQ. I see very little difference in the end product - invariably a young person better equipped to become a productive citizen and more confident in their own abilities, whichever qualification they happened to succeed in.

Steven Geraghty, Head of secondary, Serlby Park, Notts.

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