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First diploma results ‘disappointing’

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By Helen Mooney

18 August 2009

Students studying for the government’s new 14–19 diploma achieved ‘disappointing results’ in the ‘functional skills’ part of their courses, including in English and maths, according to Ofsted.

The diplomas, which were introduced in September 2008 as an alternative to GCSEs and A-levels, are being phased in over four years. Within the diploma, students study a main specialist subject or ‘principal learning’, such as engineering and media; a functional skills course; a project; ten days’ work experience; and some additional or specialised learning.

The Ofsted report, published on August 17, found that half of the 23 schools and consortiums offering diplomas had not established an ‘effective, co-ordinated approach to teaching the functional skills’. The quality of the teaching and learning of these skills varied considerably.

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