Commenting on the Ofsted’s report on new 14-19 diplomas, in which it said the quality of teaching of functional skills needs to improve, Lambert said that some of the findings were a real concern.
The diplomas, which were introduced in September 2008 and combine theoretical study with practical learning, are the most important element of the 14–19 reforms. The main component of the diploma is the specialist subject content, such as engineering or creative & media.
However, students must also complete functional skills (English, mathematics and ICT), a project, 10 days’ work experience, and a unit of additional or specialised learning intended to complement or extend the specialist subject work.
“School leavers must be armed with basic skills, otherwise they will struggle throughout their career. Diplomas should be equipping young people with skills for a specific career, but they must also impart basic literacy and numeracy skills”, Lambert said.