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New skills-based GCSEs planned to reinvent vocational training


The government is to introduce a range of vocational GCSEs, in applied science, manufacturing, applied ICT, applied business, applied art and design, leisure and tourism and health and social care. The aim is to give vocational qualifications the same esteem as academic ones, although the term "vocational" is likely to be dropped as part of the rebranding. The skills-related qualifications will be taught partly out of school in workplaces.

On BBC One's Breakfast with Frost, education secretary Estelle Morris said: "We should be a bit ashamed of the fact that our vocational qualifications are just not respected in the same way. The consequence of that is that too many children leave school at 16. More important than that, they don't reach their potential. They miss out. Their skills are not developed. At the end of the day, our nation needs vocational skills just as much as it needs academic skills... If you can offer a qualification in vocational subjects that is equivalent to qualification in academic subjects I think you might get rid of this historic failure to really value vocational subjects."

Modern languages are to become optional, which has attracted criticism, but they may be boosted at ealier stages. "Year after year we have got fewer students going on to A-levels and degree level so I would like to do something different about modern foreign languages," Ms Morris commented.

The DfES has also produced a new strategy document, Delivering Results, outlining these and other plans.


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