23 October 2007

Commenting on the announcement on diplomas today, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of The Russell Group, said:

"The Russell Group welcomes the diploma as a means of expanding the opportunities for potential students from a broader mix of backgrounds and educational experiences to progress to higher education. We recognise the importance of the aims of the diploma in encouraging students to apply academic learning in a practical context; in tailoring the curriculum to the needs of the student; and in attempting both to stimulate the low achiever and stretch the brightest.

"We particularly welcome the introduction of a science diploma as we are still concerned about the low proportion of students - largely from state schools - taking science A Levels.

"However, we are concerned to ensure that the diploma sufficiently equips candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to flourish on our courses. Our member universities are in the process of assessing the academic rigour and general suitability of the diploma as a route to higher education. Several have already signalled their intention to accept the Engineering Diploma, most usually in combination with a Maths 'A' level as part of the required additional specialist learning. We also look forward to be playing a key role in shaping the development of the new raft of diplomas."


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