They said ..

29th February 2008 at 00:00
Schools have "a stark lack of enthusiasm" for diplomas.

David Laws, Liberal Democrat education spokesman.

We say ...

The 14-19 diplomas are at an early stage. The first five courses will begin in September in a few authorities, with more courses in the following years and all 17 not expected to be running until 2013.

Schools only found out in December how many GCSEs and A-levels the different levels will be worth. Yet, despite all of this, eight out of 10 state secondaries have already signed up to consortiums offering the diplomas. That is not a stark lack of enthusiasm - that is a surprisingly big vote of support.

The International Baccalaureate has received a great deal of hype as an alternative to A-levels. Yet only 122, mostly independent, secondary schools in the UK offer it. Meanwhile, 2,501 secondaries are preparing for the diploma.

Whether pupils themselves will show any enthusiasm for the new qualifications is another matter.

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