Wrong to ban GNVQs

10th March 2006 at 00:00
Jean Hickman, head of Walsall academy, passionately defends vocational qualifications.

She believes General National Vocational Qualifications have transformed the life chances of her pupils, helping them to get jobs or to go on post-16 study.

And Mrs Hickman said schools which ban GNVQs because they do not believe they are worth four GCSEs are failing teenagers.

"I have heard heads say at conferences that they could achieve 100 per cent five A*-C, instead of 70 per cent, if they offered GNVQ, but they decided not to. I think they are disadvantaging their pupils."

Walsall's use of GNVQs is under the spotlight because of the contribution they made to its results last year.

Official league tables showed that 67 per cent of pupils achieved five or more good GCSEs, or vocational equivalent. But when vocational exams are excluded, the figure drops to 7 per cent.

Mrs Hickman said all pupils had taken a mixture of GNVQs and GCSEs. She said GNVQs were good courses which meant that many pupils left with qualifications which employers, colleges and universities valued.

She said: "This academy has enabled 67 per cent of our pupils last year to be economically stable, to walk out of here into the wider world with their heads held high. We are proud of that."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now