14-19 Education and Skills – Implementation Plan
This paper, issued by DfES in December 2005, sets out how the qualification and
curriculum reforms proposed in the 14-19 Education and Skills White Paper
(February 2005) will be delivered.
It complements the Green Paper Youth Matters and the White Paper Higher
Standards Better Schools for All which set out how services for young people will
be reformed and linked to educational achievement and child welfare.
The most significant reform is a new qualification and curriculum entitlement from
2013 for all young people; however 2008 is a major milestone year for
development and there will be some changes from 2006. The Government’s key
targets are to raise achievement of Level 2 qualifications to 70% of 19 year olds
by 2006, to increase participation in Apprenticeship by 75% by 2007/8 and to
raise participation to 90% of 17 year olds by 2015.
The Entitlement: All young people at 14 will be entitled to choose between:
o General qualifications including a new General Diploma equal to 5 x A*-C
GCSEs including English and Maths. This will become the new higher
benchmark of performance and be reported in Achievement and Attainment
tables from 2006.
o Employer led Specialised Diplomas including a mixture of general and
o 14 Specialised Diplomas at three levels up to Advanced, covering different
sectors of the economy. Not considered a career choice. Will contain
GCSEs and A Levels. Level 2 will be equivalent to 5 x A*-C GCSEs and will
lead to Level 3 or Apprenticeship. Level 3 will lead to HE. Will include
“functional skills” specialised diplomas.
o Five Specialised Diplomas from 2008. A further five from 2009 and the
final four from 2010.
o Three year evaluation will follow.
o Full national entitlement from 2013.
Structure of Specialised Diplomas
o All diplomas will be of the same “size” regardless of subject:
Level 1 will occupy under half the available time over 2 years at KS4, but
may be completed at any time during the 14-19 phase
Level 2 will occupy over half the available time over 2 years at KS4
Level 3 will occupy the curriculum time equivalent to three A levels. A
Progression Stage Award will also be available at Level 3 equivalent to 2
o To get a specialised diploma a student will have to achieve in three areas:
General learning – functional skills, personal and employability skills
Principal learning – sector based knowledge
Additional / specialist learning – a range of options endorsed by
o 50% of Principal Learning should be focused on practical skills, preferably in
a realistic work environment (25% of the whole qualification).
o Each diploma will require a minimum of 10 days work experience focused on
general employability skills (preferably in a relevant industry).
o ICT will be included in all diplomas.
o A Project will be included in all diplomas, designed by the student on any
aspect of the diploma.
The frameworks are being developed by employer-led Diploma Development
Partnerships (DDPs) with input from QCA and the Sector Skills Councils.
Content for the first five will be agreed by June 2006. They will be available to
schools in September 2007 for introduction in 2008.
Functional Skills Qualifications
Both routes will include functional English, Maths and ICT and GCSEs are
being altered to include these with full two year pilots beginning in 2007 and
incorporation into diplomas in 2008. They must be passed to gain a grade C
GCSE or any diploma. There will be a full consultation early in 2006. Existing
GCSE frameworks will be phased out by 2009.
The new national entitlement for 14-16 year olds
Every young person will study:
o National Curriculum Core subjects: English, Maths and Science
o National Curriculum Foundation subjects: ICT, PE and Citizenship
o Work related learning and enterprise
o Religious education
o Sex, drug, alcohol and tobacco education and careers education
Choice to young people must include:
All 14 Specialised Diplomas: At least one course in each of the
Health and social care o Design and technology
ICT o The Arts
Creative and media o The Humanities
Construction and the built environment o Modern Foreign Languages
Land-based and environment
Manufacturing (students should be allowed to take all
Hair and Beauty four if they wish)
Business administration and finance
Hospitality and catering
Sport and leisure
Travel and tourism
(source: 14-19 Education and Skills Implementation Plan, DfES, December
The 2006 Education Bill will put duties on the Local Authority (in relation to 14-16
year olds) and the LSC (in relation to 16-19 year olds) to ensure there is
sufficient provision in each local area. The Bill will put a duty on schools to
ensure that young people have access to all the Diplomas locally. LA plans for
school building or improvement must reflect the contribution to delivering this
Each local area will develop a Prospectus during 2006 through a 14-19
Partnership led by the Local Authority and the LSC. This should include the offer
from schools, colleges and work based learning providers in each area. 14-19
Partnerships will have to address local delivery issues including common
timetabling, governance, transport and Quality Assurance of collaborative
delivery. Local Authorities will be the key integrators of services up to 19,
building on existing local strategic partnerships and agreements. By 2008 young
people should be using these local prospectuses to make choices, which means
they will replace traditional options booklets and should support integrated
timetabling across a cluster of schools.
The Plan acknowledges that no single school can deliver the full range of options
in this entitlement. 14-16 year olds will remain on roll at their school to pursue
the National Curriculum Core and Foundation subjects, but collaboration will be
essential in other areas to allow all students the full entitlement. Work will be
under way through existing 14-19 groups in the region to develop prospectuses
and consider the Quality Assurance and Governance issues associated with
collaborative delivery. Schools are strongly encouraged to contribute to these
discussions through ALP 14-19 representatives.
The paper states that professional development will be available, including from
early 2006 a programme of learning visits through which good practice can be
observed. The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) and Specialist Schools and
Academies Trust (SSAT) will lead on teaching and learning materials for the first
five specialised diplomas and for the teaching of new functional skills
The LSC will support the confirmation of 40 Vocational Specialist Schools by
Spring 2006 (200 by September 2008) and 400 CoVEs by March 2006. National
Skills Academies will begin to operate in September 2006.
Employer involvement and systems for managing work experience will be
crucial to deliver work related elements of the new diplomas, and will place
pressure on schools and providers for focused work experience. By 2013 up to
40% of 14-16 year olds could be studying non GCSE courses. A possible
concern is continuing reliance on work experience to re-motivate disaffected
students. The paper reinforces this by stating that a new 14-16 Re-engagement
Programme will target young people at risk of disaffection with a work based
option including two days a week of work experience which could lead to a Level
1 specialised diploma. Schools should regard non-accredited work experience
to address behavioural issues as a last resort.
DfES are undergoing technical work currently to introduce new progression
measures which will focus on achievement and indirectly reflect schools
encouraging students to take choices which are suitable for them. Progression
information will formally be published in the Schools Profile from September
Schools are expected to fund these courses through mainstream resources.
There will be a reduction in the number of programmes funded through ring-
fenced pots of money in favour of a common funding approach incorporating
smaller bespoke programmes. Grant funding will be available initially to support
development including group visits to other areas. DfES has announced that the
Dedicated Schools Grant for 2006/7 will include £40 million to secure a broader
range of vocational and specialist provision at KS4, rising to £70 million in
2007/8. This funding will not be ring fenced but is intended to cover the
additional core costs of delivery including teaching, curriculum planning,
resources and equipment and relevant fees. It will enable schools to purchase
provision which they cannot themselves directly provide from other schools,
colleges or private providers in the area. Guidance for Local Authorities on the
use of this funding is available on www.teachernet.gov.uk/schoolbudgets20068/
4 January 2005