Diplomas – bad brand
At last, however, the government, or at least the civil service, have come up with a solution that was meant to solve the problem, but threatens to deepen the divide – diplomas. Rather than extending the A-level brand to cover these qualifications, they have created a separate brand ‘Diplomas’ that cleaves these subjects off to one side. Type ‘diplomas’ into Google and right below the DFES (yes that old brand is still hanging around) is the diploma company advertising ‘The best in fake diplomas and novelty transcripts!’ This is not a brad with enough academic kudos to carry this initiative forward.
Diplomas - teachers
BECTA’s recent Harnessing Technology report had a harrowing graph showing that most classroom practice is hopelessly outdated:
Common classroom activities
In which three of the following ways do you do most often in class?
(Magnificent example of an ungrammatical sentence, pouring doubt on BECTAs ability to write English)
Copy from the board or a book 52%
Listen to teacher talking for a long time 33%
Have a class discussion 29%
Take notes while my teacher talks 35%
Whatever way you cut this, the current school system is hopelessly underskilled in terms of delivering Diplomas. These methods won’t cut it.
Diplomas – schools
The only way to make this work is to share resources, something schools just do’t do, or at least don’t do well. They generally hate each other, having been placed in a position where they have to compete for pupils. From this position of mutual hostility, they are expected to share subjects and send pupils to various locations across towns. How will this work? Who’ll be there to welcome and look after these kids? How will they handle moving into another hostile culture? The planning has more holes than a barrel of Swiss cheese.
Diplomas – parents
Because of the general confusion around what they are and when they’re arriving, and an almost willful failure to inform parents, when these strange qualifications are offered, parents recoil. In some cases the take-up has been zero.
Rather than creating a single system, with a range of sensible options, this half-baked idea is being launched like an axe, dividing the curriculum in two, taking us back into a grammar/secondary modern model – all because of amateurish branding and planning.