The authors provide an overview of current policy in the 14-19 area. They cover changes to 14-19 education, diplomas, and work-based learning in the context of new developments. They provide a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the new 14-19 phase with a focus on A levels and GCSEs, the new 14-19 Diplomas vocational learning and institutional collaboration. Drawing on international and historical analysis, recent research and practice and interveiws with policy actors, the authors set out the case for a more unified and strongly collaborative approach to the organisation of upper secondary education in England. The book is intended for education practitioners, policy-makers and researchers. It is for PGCE students on new 14-19 courses, and for those following Masters level courses on 14-19 curriculum and training. The authros are both co-directors of the Nuffielld Review of 14-19 Education and Training in England and Wales, which is a six-year independent review of all aspects of 14-19 policy, research and practice funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Review is based at the Department of Educational Studies, Oxford University.

The 14–19 Diplomas

The 14–19 diplomas

Diplomas – a High Profile and Risky Venture

In November 2006, Alan Johnson, then Secretary of State for Education and Skills, described 14–19 Diplomas as representing ‘the most radical educational development taking place probably anywhere in the world’ and a ‘thrilling development’ (Johnson 2006). By March 2007, however, he was on record as confessing ‘Things could go horribly wrong, particularly as we are keeping A Levels and GCSEs’ (BBC 2007a). These two seemingly contradictory statements reflect the paradox of the Diplomas. The Government has invested virtually everything in the power of these qualifications to transform 14–19 education and training and they constituted its main response to the Tomlinson Report (Working Group on 14–19 Reform 2004a).

As we have explained in the previous ...

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