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30 May 2008

C&BE Diploma is on course for being a success as more than 3,000 pupils sign up, says ConstructionSkills

- 3,054 pupils sign up to take C&BE Diploma
- Sheffield places for C&BE Diploma ‘oversubscribed’
- New specialist learning package to help personalise Diploma
- Latest endorsements show Diploma well on track
- Over 100 universities and colleges now support Advanced Diploma

ConstructionSkills has announced it was ‘delighted’ that 3,054 pupils have already signed up to take its Construction and the Built Environment (C&BE) Diploma. It comes as some schools and colleges have reported the course has been ‘oversubscribed.’

ConstructionSkills' Head of Standards and Qualifications Nick Gooderson said: " We’re absolutely delighted that more than 3,000 pupils have already signed up to take the C&BE Diploma. We always anticipated that the take up would be under 4,000 so this a great start for what is a new qualification. We anticipate that over the next couple of months even more pupils will choose to take it and we’re now very confident the C&BE Diploma launch successfully this September.

“For example, places in the Sheffield schools and colleges offering our Diploma have actually been oversubscribed thanks to the massive interest of young people keen to learn more about Construction and the Built Environment.

"This is a very controlled roll out as only 44 consortias (partnerships made up of schools, colleges, training providers and employers) are running the new qualification. Therefore, there is still time to do more work before the C&BE Diploma is extended to other areas in 2009 and beyond.

“We have recently met with all of our 2008 consortia to establish what more can be done to assist and are feeding this into DCSF. But the feedback we've received from teachers and employers is that they’re ready, willing and able to deliver the C&BE Diploma because it will make big difference to the lives of young people.”

44 consortias across England have joined forces with at least 70 construction companies offering students up to 10 days of site work experience as part of their Diplomas. Major contractors supporting the scheme include Bovis, Laing O’Rourke, Lovell, Wates, Rok, Balfour Beatty, Kier, Persimmon Homes, Carillion and Seddon Group.

Roy Cavanagh, Training Manager at Seddon Group, who has helped to develop the C&BE Diploma, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. It confirms that we now have an impressive number of pupils to match the considerable amount of major employers committed to making this Diploma a great success.

“It also gives us a brilliant opportunity to get even more students and employers on board before the launch in September. It’s onward and upward!”

With just over 100 days before the Diploma launches, Ed Balls said he is pleased with progress so far for the qualification that could transform the qualifications landscape and unlock talent wasted for generations.

The DCSF has worked closely with consortia to ensure quality and some local partnerships have managed down estimated Diploma numbers to ensure they can deliver excellent learning in year one. In some areas, numbers have gone up from original estimates. The overall number taking the Diploma in September will be 20,000.

Mr Balls said: “It’s vital that we get this right and put quality first and that’s why we did not go for a big bang launch. This year about a quarter of schools and a half of colleges offered the Diploma and next year this will rise to nearly three quarters of secondary schools and almost nine out of ten of colleges offering the Diploma in September 2009.

“I want numbers studying the Diploma to evolve naturally, driven by growing excitement about what is on offer and by careful planning of study at local level.  We know that schools and colleges are enthusiastic and I’m delighted that both the independent school Wellington College and the new Wellington Academy are now planning to offer the Diploma.

“Over the next three years as new Diplomas come on-stream in subjects such as Business and Manufacturing and we introduce our three general Diplomas in Science, Humanities and Languages, I believe that Diplomas will meet the needs of young people, universities and employers and could become the qualification of choice over the next decade.”  

Jim Knight said: “Students tell us they want flexible qualifications that match their ambitions. The Diplomas give them that starting point and the wide range of additional specialist learning modules that allow them to study according to their individual aspirations – from plumbers to architects, board room to workshop.”

Anthony Seldon, of Wellington College, said: “I am pleased to confirm that Wellington Academy is planning to offer Diplomas alongside A levels from its opening in 2009. Wellington College is also hoping to offer Diplomas in Engineering and ICT.” 

Mr Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and Jim Knight, Minister for Schools and Learners, met, during the college visit: students and parents of students taking the Diploma in September and representatives from local schools, colleges, London Metropolitan University and Hackney Council. Ministers were accompanied by Sir Mike Tomlinson, Tim Campbell and Sir Alan Jones of Toyota.



Sir Alan Jones, Chairman Emeritus of Toyota said today: “Employers support the Diploma’s strong emphasis on giving young people the range of skills that they need to succeed in the real world and that will help us compete in the global skills race. I’m delighted at the progress so far. Employers have partnered with education in the design of the Diploma and I’m convinced that the strong support from employers will continue to grow over time.”

Also today the national organisation for Education Business Partnerships (NEBPN) said that employers were showing genuine excitement about getting involved in Diplomas when they start in September.

NEBPN Chief Executive Declan Swan said: “I’ve been all round England to talk to people about Diplomas. It’s clear that employers are genuinely excited. They really welcome the emphasis on what some people call the soft skills – things like teamwork, problem-solving and time management. Employers and higher education say these are precisely the skills that the economy needs in order to thrive over the coming decades.”


Support from higher education continues to grow – UCAS announced today that the number of universities and colleges supporting the Advanced Diploma is now over 100.

Anthony McClaran, UCAS Chief Executive said today: “It is very encouraging that a wide cross-section of universities and colleges have positively indicated that they view the Advanced Diplomas as a suitable entry route into higher education.

“These supporting statements go a long way to placing the Advanced Diploma firmly in the spectrum of qualifications that universities consider provide students with the breadth of skills and knowledge that they will need to be successful at the HE level.”


Sir Mike Tomlinson said: “It’s only a few short months now before the first Diploma students start their studies and begin to consign to history the artificial divide between academic and vocational subjects which does not make sense in today’s world. There is a long road ahead for the Diploma but I am sure it is right to put quality first from the start.”

John Dunford, Association of School and College Leaders Chief Executive, said: “Schools and colleges have worked very hard to address the operational challenges of offering Diplomas. We know that a substantial minority of consortia are still sorting out logistical challenges and have taken the very sensible decision to wait until 2009 before launching the Diplomas. The Diplomas are one of the biggest curriculum changes of this decade and this scale of reform is best rolled out gradually so that it can be refined and enhanced along the way.”

Martin Doel, Association of Colleges Chief Executive, said: “The Diploma will mean new choices and opportunities for young people. It will give them access to a new mix of personalised practical and theoretical learning in a range of environments. Colleges and schools are now working together to address the challenges that will inevitably result from such a major change to our qualification system.”


Also today the new catalogue of Additional and Specialist Learning (ASL) for the Diploma was published, offering young people more choice to achieve in their chosen career through employment or higher education.

Additional and specialist learning enables young people to tailor their learning according to their interests and ambitions. Diploma students will have access to a catalogue of qualifications to help them specialise and explore in more depth as a clear route into employment or further learning.

It offers qualifications that give young people better opportunities to tailor their study to meet their own interests or aspirations – for example, they can now include the best of BTECs within their personal learning package. If you were doing the Creative and Media Diploma, you may decide to do a BTEC in journalism and further specialise in broadcast journalism.

Jerry Jarvis of Edexcel said: “The publication of the new Diploma catalogue marks an important milestone in the realisation of this new qualification. We can now see how the wealth of new specialist learning can create literally thousands of new ways to access qualifications.

“Edexcel remains absolutely committed to the success of the Diploma, and the catalogue reflects the enormous progress that has been made

 “We always aim to develop the most innovative and exciting provision which excites teachers and inspires learners and so we are particularly pleased to note that over 480 Edexcel qualifications, including 230-plus BTECS, make up the Diploma catalogue provision.”

A student who is doing the Advanced Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment could do the mandatory units and for ASL an AS level in Maths and an AS level in Art, opening up options of university study in Architecture.  Another student deciding to do the Advanced Diploma in Engineering might decide to do an AS level in Electronics and an AS level in French as their ASL.

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