Speaking as devil's advocate

24th February 1995 at 00:00
I wish to take issue with the article "University tutors slate GNVQs" (TES, January 13) in which I am presented as taking part in some sort of anti-General National Vocational Qualifications crusade. The authors have completely misrepresented the context of the session in which I took part at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Education in Lancaster.

GNVQs are here to stay and will form an increasing proportion of our intake in future years. However, I have a duty of care towards those students that I admit and the theme of my talk was that many of us in admissions are worried about the variations in standards of GNVQ teaching and assessment across the country.

The article fails to mention that the ASE session in which I took part had a "debating" format, with a speaker describing the problems with GNVQs (myself) followed by a speaker on the advantages (Frank Burnett from Kent). I made it very clear that, having been asked to act as devil's advocate, I would present a negative case, but that this did not represent my overall personal view.

The article also states that I said: "The good do A-levels, the rest do GNVQs." This quotation was one of a dozen comments which I felt needed to be addressed and answered if GNVQs are to maintain their credibility. At no point did I suggest that this was my view.

During the last admissions year the success rate for GNVQ applicants to Lancaster (admissions to applications ratio) was considerably higher than that for A-level applicants.

RICHARD COLLINS

Director of admissions

Lancaster University

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