The Diploma is a qualification for students aged 14 to 19, designed to combine academic and vocational learning and prepare young people for progression to further/ higher education and employment. More than 5000 employers, universities, schools and colleges have been involved in the development of the Diploma, but not all schools will offer Diploma courses. Diplomas were developed by the previous government and whilst schools and colleges are at liberty to still offer them, they are not actively supported by the Department for Education.
All Diplomas are available at Foundation (level 1) and Higher (level 2) generally for 14 – 16 year olds. Advanced (level 3) levels are generally 16 – 18 year olds and are the equivalent of A levels. Fourteen Diploma “lines” are available to schools and colleges. These are:
- Business, administration and finance
- Construction and the built environment
- Creative and media
- Environment and land-based studies
- Hair and beauty studies
- Manufacturing and product design
- Public services
- Retail business
- Society, health and development
- Sport and active leisure
- Travel and tourism
The Diploma is a qualification comprised of a number of components – all of which must be successfully completed:
- Principal learning – this is the sector-related learning developed by employers and universities, and is a combination of practical and theoretical learning. Roughly 50 per cent of the Diploma is principal learning.
- Project – This is a single piece of work of a student’s choosing related to the Diploma subject or sector area. It requires evidence of planning, preparation, research and autonomous working. Students take the Extended Project Qualification at Advanced Diploma level. This can also be taken alongside other qualifications as a freestanding qualification.
- Functional Skills – available in English, mathematics and ICT.
- A minimum of 10-days work experience.
- Personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS) such as team work and creative thinking.
- Additional/specialist learning – Diploma students will complete either an ‘additional’ qualification to add breadth or a ‘specialist’ qualification to add depth to their principal learning. Qualifications are drawn from a catalogue including GCSEs, A Levels, BTECS and technical certificates. Each Diploma has its own catalogue of qualifications. These can be found at the National Database of Accredited Qualifications (NDAQ).
What can museums do?
- It is easiest for museums to support: Creative and media, Environment and land-based studies, Engineering and Travel and Tourism Diplomas.
- Museums can offer work-related study days and outreach.
- Museums can offer placements and projects.
- Creative Media Diploma (Chatham) case study (PDF, 148Kb).The Historic Dockyard Chatham teamed up with the Medway Education Business Partnership to offer schools a unit for the Level 3 Creative and Media Diploma. The brief for the students was to research and produce an event that would attract younger audiences to the dockyard.
- Creative Media Diploma (SEARCH) case study (PDF, 313Kb). The SEARCH Museum, a hands-on centre for history and natural sciences in Gosport, has delivered a unit for Creative and Media Diploma students from the Wildern School Consortium. The brief for the students was to ‘study various ways in which creative ideas and media can bring to life a visitor attraction’, culminating in an exhibition and KS2 school workshop session.