New 14-19 Curriculum/Purposes of Education

Directed tasks

Hodgson and Spours (2007) suggests that “fate of specialised diplomas will be more determined by their context than their content” (2007, p669).   Criticism and concerns have been widely voiced in the academic sector regarding the new reforms for 14-19 education system (Lepowska 2008)

As a developing professional, whilst welcoming any changes that make education more accessible, inclusive and relevant and produce students with greater literacy and numeracy skills (as these new diplomas are intended to), I still have concerns for three main areas: their content, relevance and implementation.

Hodgson and Spours (2007) argue that the new reforms are unlikely to transform 14-19 education and training and is likely to result in "academic drift," lack of status and a relatively low level of uptake for these new awards, a process compounded by low employer recognition of broad vocational qualifications (2007 p669). They progress to state that by rejecting the Tomlinson Report's central proposal for a unified diploma system covering all 14-19 education and training, the government may have condemned the Specialised Diplomas to become a middle-track qualification for a minority of 14-19-years-olds, situated between the majority academic pathway and the sparsely populated apprenticeship route (2007 p670).   As stated three main issues for discussion are content, relevance and implementation.


Firstly, the content of the diplomas has been a matter for discussion, and whilst the process has been rushed (Lepkowska, 2008), I don’t feel that this will solely determine their success or failure.   As a result of the Tomlinson Review, and the 2005 Education and Skills White Paper, which stressed the need for young people to be engaged with more exciting and relevant study programmes, there will be vast changes to the GCSE syllabuses in an attempt to make them more relevant.   A-levels will introduce a new A* grade to distinguish the most able, and...