Secondary headteachers' experiences and perceptions of vocational courses in the Key Stage 4 curriculum: some implications for the 14-19 Diplomas
University of Exeter
Journal of Education and Work
In an attempt to address the low levels of engagement in post-16 education and training in the UK amongst some groups at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and to enhance the skills of the future labour force, the UK government instituted an agenda of reform for the post-14 curriculum. Part of these reforms was the introduction in England, in September 2002, of General Certificate of Secondary Educations (GCSEs) in vocational subjects, emphasising practical skills and the application of knowledge and understanding. In addition, the Increased Flexibility Programme (IFP) for 14-16-year-olds, also introduced in 2002, provided a new opportunity for Key Stage 4 (KS4) students to have access to Level 1 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). In order to understand how these qualifications were being implemented and experienced, a survey of 301 secondary schools in England was undertaken. The findings of this survey undertaken in 2005 raise important issues not only for those involved in the provision and delivery of 'vocational' GCSEs and NVQs, but also for the new 14-19 Diplomas introduced in England from September 2008.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Journal of Education and Work© 2008 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Journal of Education and Work is available online at http://www.informaworld.com