RSC challenges on the hoof policy for diplomas

24 October 2007

The Royal Society of Chemistry today questioned plans for projected new school science diplomas.

RSC chief executive Richard Pike said that it was unclear what is being proposed by the Government and that changes that affect the future of A-Levels and GCSEs should not be taken without deep and wide-ranging consultations.

He said: "There's a failure in this diploma announcement to achieve joined-up thinking, with a lack of clarity that will breed uncertainty and confusion. Some of those closest to discussions over the last six months, and even other government bodies, have been taken by surprise as a specialised planned vocational qualification has morphed into a brand new educational system."

Dr Pike, head of the 43,000-member body that includes thousands of teachers and students, added: "This is no way to treat teachers or, even more importantly, young people coming through secondary education and we regard it as making policy on the hoof."

He added that if, as reported, a new era of secondary education diplomas were to arrive then it should only come after "profound, far-reaching discussion and debate."

He said: "A whole spectrum of specialists and stakeholders needs to be consulted, from teachers and head teachers through to industry and employers. 

"The education and future of our young people is not a frivolous matter; it is central to the economic and social fabric of the nation and the related decision-making such as introduction of diplomas should reflect that seriousness fully."

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