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UCU endorses criticism of government's progress on new diplomas

17 May 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU has welcomed a report by the Education and Skills Committee which is highly critical of the government's implementation of proposals for 14-19 diplomas.

UCU was among a number of education unions and professional organisations that submitted views in a consultation on the development of the diplomas. Many of the union's views have been taken on board in the committee's report.

UCU believes the diplomas' relationship with existing, similar qualifications is unclear. The union is also alarmed by the possibility that many universities may be unwilling to take students' diploma achievements seriously.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt said: 'This is an excellent report, exposing the poor development of the diplomas by the DfES in an unrealistic timescale. There has clearly been insufficient involvement of teachers and lecturers, awarding bodies and employers. The government has also ignored previous select committee advice, on A level reform, not to rush such initiatives and changes.  

'It is vital, as proposed, that the 2008 diplomas should be on a pilot basis. We hope this is with a limited cohort and that any wider roll-out is delayed until after thorough evaluation. Start small and expand slowly should be the way. The report is also right to echo UCU concerns about too little action on workforce development.  

'UCU agrees that the 2008 A level review should be widened to include diplomas and we hope that there is further movement towards the Tomlinson proposals, including an overarching diploma with elements which can help HE institutions to select entrants.  We support the greater involvement of HE in this, to ensure that diplomas are accepted as a pathway into HE.'