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We're working together

I was disappointed to read David Collins's remarks about diplomas (FE Focus, November 7). My experience is that where diplomas are successfully being introduced, they are doing so in partnerships between schools - many with sixth forms - and colleges.

For example, in Warrington all the secondary schools, the local authority, the sixth form college and the FE college have formed one consortium, agreed a common timetable, appointed a 14-19 co-ordinator and are working collaboratively to ensure the successful implementation of all the diploma lines by 2013.

The consortium is utilising the specialisms of the schools to provide the expertise to drive the initiative forward. We are a specialist engineering college and so will take the lead in delivering the diploma in engineering. We will do this in collaboration not only with all the partners already mentioned but also our industrial partners the RAC, in a state-of-the-art auto engineering training centre based on the school site.

Other partners include construction companies Costain and Atkins Global, the water and telecommunications firm United Utilities and the Sellafield nuclear processing plant.

We must work together to ensure that pupils, teachers and parents understand the benefits of a qualification that has been backed and designed in partnership with leading British businesses. This is an opportunity for schools and their consortia to change the face of applied learning.

Alan Yates, Headteacher, Great Sankey High School, Warrington, Cheshire.

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