Government asks agencies to pitch for diploma brief

Alan Johnson

The Government is drawing up a list of advertising and media agencies to launch a campaign to support the new diploma qualification that is being introduced by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

The pitch will be handled by the COI.

The new diplomas are aimed at 14- to 19-year-olds and are offered as alternatives to GSCE and A levels in one of five subjects – IT, engineering, creative and media, health and social care and construction. Schools are to begin local trials from September 2008.

Ministers have approved 145 partnerships between schools, colleges and other training providers to run the new diplomas from next year. The approved partnerships will receive £30,000 to run each diploma which, in some cases, could amount to as little as £30 per student. The National Union of Teachers has expressed concerns about potential problems with the way the diplomas are funded and organised.

The DfES plans to expand the scheme and has stated that by 2013, every pupil in England must be offered the choice of 14 diploma courses.

Schools, colleges and work-based training providers are to work in partnership to offer students access to specialist facilities and expertise. Education Secretary Alan Johnson wants teenagers to stay on in school or training until they reach 18, once all the diplomas are running, from 2015.

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