GCSE and A-level exams will be replaced by a new diploma
framework which is designed to motivate both disaffected pupils and
high achievers under new proposals now up for consultation.
The Tomlinson report on the curriculum for 14 to 19 year olds
proposes wholesale reform of the qualifications system.
The new diploma will have two parts – a core curriculum of basic
skills for all under-16s including maths, information technology,
communication and personal development, and a main learning
component, which will form the bulk of the diploma and will be a
pick-and-mix selection made by the student from a wide range of
academic and non-academic options.
The framework has been developed by the Working Group for 14-19
Reform, chaired by former Ofsted chief Mike Tomlinson, which the
government set up a year ago to suggest reforms to the assessment
and qualifications system to broaden the curriculum and motivate
more young people including by strengthening vocational
The aim of the Tomlinson framework is to allow all students to
achieve qualifications which reflect their best performance in
whatever area their strengths lie, which tackles young
people’s disaffection with school and which reduces the
burden of assessment.
The proposals also set out to tackle the lack of basic skills
among many young people leaving education, and the UK’s low
proportion of 17 year olds still in education. According to 2001
data, the UK ranks 27th out of 30 industrialised countries with 73
per cent in education.
The consultation on the proposals is due to end in May.