Tags: 14-19 education | CPD | CPD Coordinator | Headteacher | School Leadership & Management | Teaching & Learning

The DfES recently announced its 14-19 Implementation Plan. This will transform the examination system and will influence teaching, learning and assessment in all of the earlier key stages of education. Plans for continuing professional development will have to take into account these changes.

From 14, young people will choose between general qualifications (including a general diploma for those achieving the equivalent of five GCSEs grade A*-C including English and maths) and employer-led ‘specialist diplomas’ (which might also include GCSE and A-levels).

There will be 14 sets of specialised occupational diplomas. The first five will be available in 2008. But whichever route young people take they will be expected to achieve functional skills (the ability to use basic English, maths and ICT in a range of practical settings) and obtain grade C or above in GCSE maths, English and ICT.

The functional skills qualifications will be piloted from 2007 and the standards subject to consultation in early 2006.
‘A’-levels will be more ‘stretching’ and ‘challenging’, with the introduction of extended projects and more difficult questions.

Impact on ITT and CPD The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) will lead work in pilot areas to integrate work on initial teacher training (ITT) and the development of support staff to deliver the diplomas (see p9 of the plan).

Meanwhile, the DfES will seek to bring new teachers into the system (see p54), and relevant staff in each school, college and training provider will be trained to oversee the specialised diploma process.

Between 2006 and 2008 models of training and support will be developed for teachers in vocational subjects (see p56).

Muted enthusiasm Readers will remember that Ruth Kelly rejected the Tomlinson Report’s proposals for widespread changes to the examination system. This plan is her answer. Not everyone, however, is as enthusiastic about the plan as ministers.

Echoing arguments that have been frequently made in CPD Update, Dr John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: ‘Successful delivery will demand an immense amount of collaboration between schools and colleges. Although there is already a lot of 14-19 collaboration, this is limited by the simplistic GCSE league table results for individual institutions.’

Delegates to the International Professional Development Association (IPDA) conference in December were given a preview of the plan. Concerns were raised that the labels ‘academic’, ‘occupational’ and ‘vocational’ would ever be given equal value and about the inability of government to understand that, no matter what system they design, if they expect everyone to be above the equivalent of a C in GCSE they will have to break the norms that dominate examination systems and league tables.

The plan is 100 pages long but is summarised on: www.dfes.gov.uk/highlights/article14.shtml.Chapter 3, on local delivery, is also useful reading.
The full plan is available at www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/14-19implementationplan/

This article first appeared in CPD Update – Feb 2006

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