Your editorial ("GCSE compass gives a bum steer on vocational routes", 3 February) examines the issue simply from the point of view of qualifications and their effect on the accumulation of academic-style "medals" for pupils. As you rightly point out, what is important is education, not medals.
Schools should concentrate on ensuring that, when pupils leave, they are competent to deal with the adult world as autonomous individuals. I would replace GCSEs with a school leaving certificate comprising the elements necessary to achieve that competence and without which no pupil may leave school. Additional academic qualifications for those who want them should be set by universities. Vocational qualifications should be set by the experts from within vocations.
John Harrison, Co-author, "Wot, No School?"