Two types of Diploma will be introduced:
Specialised Diplomas – aimed at
specific types of employment and areas of further study.
Open Diplomas – will
incorporate Key Stage Four requirements as well as the core learning
elements of the Diploma programme. This Diploma is not aimed at a
specific occupation and it is suggested that this is the Diploma
most pupils / students in schools will attempt.
Each Diploma will have four levels of study:
For students / pupils aiming for
university entrance. Formerly AS and A Level courses.
For pupils in the A to C - GCSE
examination grade range.
For pupils in the D to G – GCSE
examination grade range.
For pupils with special educational
Each of the levels will interlock which means
that pupils can progress from one level to another.
Although the learners
(pupils) will study the core subject areas, they will have a measure
of choice and can select a mixture of subjects and areas of learning
outside the core, in the main learning aspect (see diagram above). This means that they can specialise in areas
such as Design and Technology.
Components: The Diploma will be composed
of components. Current GCSEs and A levels may supply much of the
course material but components will not be qualifications in their
own right. However, it has been suggested that Diplomas will be made
up of credits, with each credit being equivalent to ten hours of
Credits: If the Diplomas are composed
of credits this may lead to a big change in the way Technology
subjects are taught at Key Stage 4 and 5. One of the aims of the
Diploma is to allow flexibility and choice. It is not clear if
pupils can mix credits from different technology subject areas. For
instance, a pupil may decide to do credits in Food Technology,
Systems and Control, Resistant Materials, Graphic Products and
Product Design. This means that the Technology Department of the
future must be flexible and be capable of delivering a broad choice
of subject areas. Technology staff must be able to deliver a
variety of Technology subject areas rather than specialising in one.
At present very few Departments are capable of this flexibility and
normally pupils specialise in one area of Technology.
The Tomlinson Report stresses the role of vocational learning.
Tomlinson suggests that vocational programmes should be developed
through direct involvement of employers and Higher Education. This
is aimed at ensuring that the workforce requirements of different
employers are met and that vocational courses are relevant. The
Tomlinson report puts great emphasis on the value of vocational
learning and emphasises that this type of learning should take place
in suitably equipped institutions.
Project/Personal Challenge: The report proposes that an extended
piece of work will contribute to the Diploma. This project will be a
substantial challenge for the pupil/student. W.A.T.T hope that the
project will help develop those skills that are central to good
Design and Technology and include; planning, research, analytical
and communication skills. It is said that the extended project will
reflect the pupil's personal preferences so that he/she can select
areas of interest. One possible outcome of an extended project could
involve designing and manufacturing. On the other hand it could be a
written report, a personal performance or even a video. The extended
project lends itself well to Design and Technology pupils/students
and staff who have great experience of extended projects.
Most Able Students:
There has been much argument in the UK regarding the fall in
standards of GCSE's and A Level qualifications. Many believe that
these qualifications are easier to pass today compared to ten years
ago. Accordingly, the most able students are not being stretched.
Tomlinson aims to put an end to this argument by the introduction of
A+ and A++ grades, to help distinguish between the most able
pupils/students and others taking the Diplomas. The W.A.T.T.
Research team suggests that the Government should insist that
existing higher grades are made more difficult to achieve, rather
than introducing more grades and more confusion.
phasing out of external examinations is one proposed feature of the
new Diplomas at Entry, Foundation and Intermediate Levels. Teacher
led assessment will be the main avenue of assessment, no doubt with
a good measure of external assessment and quality control. W.A.T.T.
hope that the external assessment and quality control side is not
delivered by those responsible for the 'mounds' of paper work that
accompanied GNVQs. The introduction of 'chartered assessors' within
each school, to ensure good practice, sounds to the W.A.T.T.
Research Team as a throw back to the 'bad old days' of GNVQ assesser
qualifications. At Advanced Level it is proposed that there should
be a balance between external and internal assessment with some
The Tomlinson Report aims to deliver:
INCLUSIVENESS – CHALLENGE
– QUALITY - CHOICE
Through high quality programmes and
qualifications in school, college or work based
learning, ensuring that all pupils of all abilities can
Challenging work in all aspects of the
Diploma. Pupils must be motivated by the work they
attempt in all components contributing to the Diploma.
In both teaching and learning. Pupils
and the wider community must value programmes of study.
Qualifications must demonstrate hard work, intellectual
challenge and perseverance. The Diploma must be valued
by business and industry, teachers and pupils.
The Diploma and components must meet
the needs of individual learners, with pupils exercising
individual choice. Pupils should be supported with
information, advice and guidance. Pupils should have the
choice of pathways and programmes of study.
The Tomlinson Report is not
the final story. The DfES produces a White Paper early in June 2005.
This will outline the Government proposals in light of the published
Tomlinson Report. The White Paper will be reviewed by W.A.T.T. as
soon as it is published. W.A.T.T. intend to produce a summary for
all those interested in Design and Technology Education in the UK.
(White Papers are introduced by the UK
Government as discussion documents. They are published to encourage
serious political debate, for the general public and politicians in
the Chambers of Parliament. They are the first stage leading to a
vote in Parliament and a change in the Law)
John Watkins a member of W.A.T.T. from New Zealand suggests that the
system recommended by Tomlinson is very similar to the current New
Zealand Education System. "Here in New Zealand we offer a National
Certificate of Learning where students are required to build up
credits to achieve certificates at the three different levels. As a
Technology Department we build up courses from the standards that we
feel best fits our particular students. Each standard has a credit
value and may be academic or more vocational in form. This system
has been in place for three years and was put in place due to the
same concerns raised in the Tomlinson report".