HEADS CONCERNED ABOUT THE ABILITY TO DELIVER SPECIALISED DIPLOMAS
The first pupils will embark on Specialised Diplomas in September 2008. The Diplomas will offer an alternative to traditional teaching styles to young people. But research by Young Enterprise, the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity, has found widespread concern among head teachers because of a lack of preparation and resource shortages.
Heads of over half of schools believe they don’t have enough time to prepare and plan ahead for the introduction of the Diplomas, but they will be prepared to deliver them. 40% don’t believe they will be well prepared, primarily due to lack of information and because there is too much to do with limited resources. Nearly three quarters believe that lacking the necessary staff will be a problem, especially those with the detailed sector knowledge and experience.
The business community will play a vital role in the Specialised Diplomas and this is the aspect where the heads feel most vulnerable. Two thirds of schools don’t have the necessary links in place with businesses. The majority of heads, 90%, believe one of the biggest constraints to developing links with businesses will be lack of awareness amongst employers about the Diplomas when they are approached to engage them. Over half of schools are concerned about their ability to engage employers to deliver the Diplomas, developing high quality work placements with them and creating clear plans on how the Diplomas will meet the local skills need.
Despite these concerns, two thirds of heads believe that the Diplomas will achieve their goal and produce more employment opportunities for young people if the right links are made with employers, especially for pupils likely to leave school before or at 16 years old. Over a third believe Specialised Diplomas will provide opportunities for high achieving pupils by giving them practical experience in the career of their choice, and that bright students will take them alongside less academically gifted students. Nearly half think they will encourage more young people to stay on in education or training after the age of 16.