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Flagship Diplomas to be taught in Medway

Date: 02/01/2008           Category: Learning and Achievement

Medway students will be among the first in the country to be taught the government’s new flagship vocational Diplomas for 14 to 19-year-olds. By 2013, students will be able to choose from 17 specialised subjects, ranging from: IT, Construction and the Built Environment, Leisure and Tourism, Hair and Beauty, and Society, Health and Development. Medway is one of 97 councils to pilot the first five Diplomas from September 2008. Subjects will be taught at 10 schools and colleges in Information Technology; Engineering; Health and Social Care; and Creative and Media. The Diplomas will be linked to industry and provide students with hands-on practical experience from relevant sectors linked to their qualification. Hotel chain Holiday Inn; Lloyds TSB; BAE Systems and Leaps and Bounds have all pledged their support to the new qualifications by offering students work experience during their studies. Schools and colleges will offer the Diplomas alongside GCSEs and A-levels as part of the drive to encourage more people to stay in education and training, and to fill the local skills gaps. Students will have to pass qualifications in functional skills and undertake work experience during their studies. There will be three levels of Diploma: Foundation is equivalent to five GCSE passes and Higher is equivalent to seven GCSE passes at grade A* to C. Advanced is equivalent to three-and-a half A-levels and will be accepted by universities and colleges, as well as allowing students to go directly into work. Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks, said: “The Diplomas offer a totally new opportunity for Medway’s young people to gain valuable vocational experiences within their curriculum while at the same time achieving accreditation that has an equivalence to the traditional qualifications of GCSEs and A-levels. “I am extremely pleased that Medway has been successful in gaining permission to offer Diplomas to its young people. I am confident that those that select to study them will be pleased with their choices as will their employers.” Director of Children’s Services Rose Collinson, said: “ Diplomas will offer young people work relevant qualifications which will make them very employable in the future. Employers as well as Further and Higher Education providers are looking for people with the right mix of qualifications and key skills that enable them to be successful at work and the diplomas are designed to ensure exactly that. “The Diploma pathways will provide Medway young people with an excellent base from which to progress into higher education as well as directly into the work place.”