Government diploma ads rapped by ad watchdog

A Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) campaign promoting its much trumpeted diplomas has been slammed by the advertising watchdog for making misleading claims.

DCSF campaign
DCSF campaign

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled claims made in the radio and press advertisements that the diplomas are accepted “by all universities” could not be substantiated.

The radio ad stated the diploma is a qualification for 14- to 19-year-olds “that’s accepted by all universities”, and added they could “open doors to university and work”.

The press ad claimed that an “advanced diploma” was equivalent to 3.5 A levels and “can get you into any university”.

The ASA says the ads are misleading because not every university accepted all five diplomas. The watchdog adds that although Cambridge University accepted the diploma in engineering, if taken alongside A-Level physics, it did not accept any of the other diplomas when they launched in September last year.

In addition, the watchdog states that a “small number” of other universities would not accept all five diplomas.

The ASA concluded that the ads implied “all diplomas represented a level of academic qualification that would be accepted by all universities”, adding that because this was not the case, “the ads were misleading”.

It says both ads must not appear again in their current form.

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