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Diploma take-up hampered by poor information

Students are not taking the new diploma qualifications because they are not receiving the information they need to make informed choices, according to a new report.

According to new research presented to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), uptake of the new diploma qualifications is slow because students do not recall receiving important information about the new qualifications.

In "National Evaluation of Diplomas Preparation for 2008 Delivery," prepared by a team from the University of Exeter: "The majority of learners did not recall receiving key information about Diplomas and it was evident that some were basing their decision on whether to take a Diploma or not on a limited and sometimes inaccurate understanding of the qualification."

The first five diplomas began for those aged 14 in the autumn of 2008 in construction and the built environment, creative and media, engineering, information technology and society, health and development.

Uptake of the diplomas was considerably lower than the government had initially hoped for, with 12,000 taking them last year.

Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association (CECA) director Rosemary Beales said: "CECA urged DCSF to make sure that employers had access to key information on Diplomas to avoid any confusion over the status of the new qualifications.

"It is disturbing to find out, long after the Diplomas have been launched, that not only are employers still not getting a clear picture of the new structure, but nor are parents, pupils and teachers.

"The Government must get hold of this now and make sure that key information reaches the people who will make important choices based on the credibility of the qualifications on offer."

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