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Vocational qualifications overhaul from September: Managing the transition

Vocational qualifications overhaul from September: Managing the transition

Thursday, 04 July 2013

Big changes are afoot but schools are finding positive and innovative ways to ensure learners don’t lose out.

This September will see big changes to vocational qualifications – the number of equivalent qualifications which count in performance tables will be reduced from more than 3,175 to just 125. In addition, going forward, all qualifications will have the same value in the league tables.

Many equivalent qualifications which have been popular with schools, particularly for lower achieving learners, will no longer count towards performance tables. Courses which will count include:

  • Full course GCSEs and established iGCSEs

  • AS levels

  • Level 3 free-standing maths qualifications

  • Level 3 Asset Language Ladder qualifications

  • Graded music examinations (grade 6 and above)

  • A number of other approved qualifications

The full list is available here

Bridge the gap

With such big changes just around the corner, many schools are understandably concerned that some children – particularly harder-to-reach learners – could lose out. Analysis from the Fischer Trust has illustrated how things would look if the 2014 performance indicators were applied to the 2011 outcomes – the results suggest a 21% drop in the number of young people achieving five GCSEs at grade A*–C.

However, we’re seeing some great examples of innovative curriculum planning to manage the change smoothly. More and more schools are managing the transition with our new GCSE resources, specifically aimed at helping hard-to-reach learners to achieve the results they need.

We’ve now applied our successful and proven approach to vocational learning to GCSEs, using journal entries, quizzes, keyword spellings and sound files help learners build confidence and reinforce knowledge. Progress tracking features help learners and teachers clearly pinpoint areas for improvement and exam and assessment activities are backed up with comprehensive teacher resources.

How schools are managing the transition

Woodlands Community College, Southampton, is using a combination of our new GCSE resources - with plans to use Religious Studies and Leisure and Tourism - alongside vocational qualifications and Learning to Learn tools to manage this period of change smoothly.

Ben Bond, Assistant Headteacher at Woodlands Community College, said:

“The students love the style and format of the courses and the bite-sized nature of the online content. Crucially, vision2learn is definitely boosting grades for students.”

Woodlands is using our Learning to Learn resources to help pupils with revision. Ben Bond explained:

“Most children now will do exams at the end of a course, rather than in a modular fashion and that’s where these tools really help because pupils are not used to this way of taking exams – they haven’t done that for many years. The Learning to Learn resources are a great buy-in for schools.”

Read the full case study

Prepare for the changes now

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