vocational qualifications

What if this years rules had applied to the last 3 years Luton school league tables?

This summer’s GCSE results will be the first to be league tabled under new rules put forward in the Wolf Review:

“vocational awards do still qualify but no qualification can count for more than one GCSE (instead of being equivalent to 2 or 4) and only two vocational qualifications are allowed to be included in 5A*-C including E&M”

Henry Stewart from the Local Schools Network has put a FOI into the DfE for the data showing how results from the past three years would look judged against this forthcoming criteria.

I’ve copied and pasted the data for the Luton schools from those spreadsheets and added the full 5A*-C E&M (including equivalents) from the DfE performance table website.

luton schools 2013


luton schools 2012

luton schools 2011


There is a fairly clear trend as the “gap” between the headline measure and the WOLF measure narrows across the schools in the 3 years to 2013. This direction of travel is a definitive positive as overall pass rates have remained high as the curriculums have become broader which, in turn, will mean that more Luton school leavers will have a wider range of Post 16 options available to them and be more likely to succeed on those pathways. It also means that the schools have the curriculum offers in place to be much better positioned for the bigger change to the league tables due to happen in 2016 with the introduction of Progress and Attainment 8.


I am not here to promote routes that shout the loudest. I am here to promote routes.

Last week saw the annual Vocational Qualifications Day with much fanfare of awards and tasters and reminders of the need to improve the image and take up of vocational routes.


It’s a worthy cause and gives much to celebrate but amid all of the build up and Press Release snippets a familiar picture is emerging.

#VQDay has a seedier side as #BashCareersDay

For the build up sees the daily news cycle spiked with stories about the “terrible state of careers advice.”


And the day sees the great and the good step up to the plate to deliver negative soundbites about the failure of careers advice.

This bashing though sows the seed for a potential side effect to grow, that the short cut for “Good careers advice” will be “well, we promote vocational routes.”

A seed that the future influx of destination statistics into a school’s data profile could nurture as schools begin to use this information in their own press interactions.

Careers leaders must not allow this to happen and stay the course of promoting ALL quality routes.

It feels lost, amid the razzmatazz, that LMI and the genuine needs of the future job market alongside a considered reflection of their own interests and strengths, should be the real elements of persuasion for young people to consider a vocational route.

A few years back now, I took  some students to a local event that introduced the Labour 14-19 Diploma to them. The venue was awash with balloons, touch screen computers and quick-moving presentations by two twins who were ex contestants on the BBC reality TV show The Restaurant. The youngsters were bowled over by the flash. The problem is those young learners that then took the qualification are probably still waiting for the bang.

I am not here to promote routes that shout the loudest. I am here to promote routes.