The Prime Minister’s recent announcement of the Advanced British Standard (ABS) has reignited the conversation. Whether or not the ABS comes to pass in its current proposed form is almost irrelevant. What matters is that the tide of change is upon us.
What lessons, then, should we take from 14-19 diplomas?
Lord Knight drew parallels with current debates in education, such as the recent introduction of T-levels, which have faced their own difficulties. He highlighted the need to move beyond existing ‘gold standard’ qualifications if reform is to succeed. His view reflects a broader desire for a more rounded approach, accommodating both general and vocational education. Ian Pryce, however, cautioned that there is a need to strike the balance between specialisation and broader education.
From a practical standpoint, Prue Huddleston stressed the importance of maintaining existing qualifications until new ones are thoroughly tried and tested. She also noted a tendency to overregulate qualifications, which can stifle innovation – perhaps an interesting topic for future discussion! Finally, Nicola McLeod highlighted the growing importance of regional partnerships. She acknowledged the potential for combined authorities to drive change both at a local level while also working alongside national government to ensure the success of future nationwide initiatives.