I went to the 5th National Delivering Diplomas conference at Aston University last week. It was a shame that the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for 14-19 Reform, Iain Wright MP, had to cancel his attendance at the last minute. However, his place was very ably taken by students from Hanham High School who answered questions about their Diploma experiences.
I was interested in the update from Teresa Bergin from the QCDA and particularly enjoyed the new video showing students on the Environmental and Land-based Diploma course. This showed how an inner-city school had overcome the difficulties of teaching the practical aspects of the course.
One recurring theme during the conference was that of the dilemma surrounding functional skills – should they be embedded into the principal learning of each Diploma line of learning, or should they be generic. There were calls for a sensible balance of the two. Also, teachers had many questions about students who don’t pass all three functional skills at level 2 at the first attempt, and whether they should be accepted on to a level 3 course. I’d like to hear your views on functional skills – how are they working at your school or college?