Number of vocational qualifications in secondary schools to be cut

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: High school

Some hospitality-focused vocational qualifications are among those that will no longer count in school league tables
Some hospitality-focused vocational qualifications are among those that will no longer count in school league tables
The number of vocational qualifications being offered to secondary school pupils is to be cut to 125 from the current 3,175 to better improve students’ prospects, the Department of Education has announced.

The move will mean that some courses aimed at arming those aged 14-16 with skills suited to the hospitality industry will be scrapped by 2014 with only 70 of the 125 on offer actually counting in school league tables.

Certain qualifications included in the new list – such as the Level 2 Principal Learning in Hospitality – are also subject to future review.

However, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, said the changes were being made to stop schools encouraging youngsters to take qualifications to boost their league table positions rather than improve their future prospects and would ensure that only quality courses would count in the future.

Focused courses

He said: “The changes we are making will take time but will transform the lives of young people.

“For too long the system has been devalued by attempts to pretend that all qualifications are intrinsically the same. Young people have taken courses that have led nowhere.”

Under the new system, every qualification will also count equally in the tables. Currently, all 3,175 vocational or equivalent courses count in school performance tables and some of these are worth more than one GCSE equivalent, some BTECs for example count as four.

Professor Alison Wolf, who compiled the report for the DoE, said vocational studies were an important part of the curriculum, but they needed to be reviewed.

“Vocational studies can form a stimulating and demanding part of the curriculum. But pretending that all vocational qualifications are equally valuable does not bring them respect. On the contrary, it devalues vocational education in people's eyes,” she said.

“I am delighted that the Government has implemented my recommendations in this area, and is rebalancing its league tables in ways that will promote high quality vocational qualifications.”

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