Ministers have failed in their promise to reform the 14-19 curriculum and created a "rag-bag" of changes by rejecting the findings of the Tomlinson inquiry, England's General Teaching Council said this week.
It said the Government had missed an opportunity to revise the qualifications process, in particular to make it more equitable for low-achievers. In a draft response to the 14-19 education and skills white paper, the council backed plans for greater support for key stage 3 pupils performing below level 5 in core subjects.
It was critical, however, of the failure to raise the status of vocational qualifications, the "narrowness" of the proposed new diploma and the lack of emphasis on teacher assessment.
There was also a lack of alignment with the Government's Every Child Matters policy, which promoted greater co-operation between education, health and social services, it said.
Council member Tony Neal, of the Secondary Heads Association, described the Government's response as spineless.
"We were promised radical reform but ended up with a rag-bag of minor adjustments, keeping one eye on the general election and the other on the Daily Mail," he said.
The report was accepted by the majority of council members but some feared that the council's calls for greater teacher assessment would affect workload.
Secondary teacher Terry Bladen said: "It is not for the GTC to argue for a worsening of conditions of service for thousands of teachers."
The paper will be revised after more consultation with teachers and heads, and is due to be presented to the Government later.
* GTC council members need to promote the work of the organisation, particularly to trainees and newly- qualified teachers, Fiona Simpson, its director of communication, said. An Audit Commission report earlier this year said the council was failing to make a positive impact on teachers.