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The Diploma – the story so far
‘We’ve come
a long way’
Elaine Maydew-Deakin their parents was a challenge for the school, but when
Assistant Head of Post 16 & Vocational Co- Year 9 students were choosing their options Elaine
ordinator, The Nottingham Bluecoat School talked to them about the course content and structure,
& Technology College sharing a ‘vision’ with them, and their parents, about
the benefits.
“It’s very early days, but already we’ve come a “It’s been a terrific experience for them – we have
long way since the Diploma was introduced in a group of 19 learners on the Higher Diploma course,
September,” says Elaine. coming from Bluecoat and four other schools across the
“One of the biggest benefits that the Diploma city, which makes for a good mix. I’m sure they’ve also
has helped bring about, through the extra funding benefited from the taster events we put on last summer,
received, is to enable us to set up a simulated which meant they got to know each other before the
hospital wing here at the Bluecoat School & course started.”
Technology College in Nottingham. This has been Elaine says the fact that the school has also established
a very exciting development and is just one of the links with employers for student work placements has
ways in which the Diploma in Society, Health and also fired their enthusiasm for the course.
Development is enabling us to give students an “The strength of the school’s well-established
authentic and ‘hands-on’ experience of health and relationship with Nottinghamshire Education Business
social care.” Alliance has been absolutely key for us, and we’ve
The school has revamped rooms in an old managed to secure 10 placements with our local health
technology block and created purpose-built rooms providers which demonstrates just how supportive of
with hospital beds, chairs, blankets, specialised the Diploma local employers have been. The NHS
lifting equipment and a life-size mannequin. A locally, adult care services and professionals from
contact at the local hospital has also supplied within the community criminal justice system have
equipment, all of which help to give students a really embraced its aims and have opened their doors
realistic impression of life in the healthcare sector. to students. Hospitals, care homes, social services and
Bluecoat is the lead deliverer for this course in youth offending teams have all been very positive,
Nottingham and the suite enables students from a and are available for student visits visit and vice versa
range of different schools and colleges to attend. – we’ve already had a physiotherapist and a midwife
“The very nature of the Diploma and the fact visit the school.
students from across the city come to us means “We’re hoping that the hospital wing we’ve recreated
that we have a real opportunity to break some will also be something that local NHS organisations,
of the traditional barriers that exist within local perhaps care homes, can use for their own training
education,” says Elaine. purposes, reinforcing the importance of the local links
‘Selling’ the idea of the Diploma to students and we are trying to establish.”
Why I chose
New resources
DCSF is producing some new materials to help you discuss and
develop the 14-19 changes locally. The 14-19 Reforms and You
Toolkit contains resources including an adaptable presentation,
the Diploma
discussion cards, and leaflets. There are two versions of the toolkit, one
for schools and one for colleges, and most of the contents are also
available separately. Order the toolkit at www.publications.teachernet. (Toolkit for Schools: reference code DCSF00328-2009; Toolkit
Salomey Adjei-Doku
Diploma student
for Colleges: reference code DCSF00323-2009).
Salomey Adjei-Doku is one of the first students in the
country to study the Diploma in Construction and the
For information and support on the Diploma go to www.diploma-
Built Environment. It’s designed to give students a solid
grounding in every aspect of building and building
design, and it’s the latter which captivates Salomey
most, as she explains: “I love interior design, it’s what I
For more information about the whole 14-19 reform programme and
want to do in the future. I really enjoy learning about the
design of buildings and how it affects the people who
resources for teachers, young people and parents visit
live or work in them.”
Recently Salomey had her ambitions reaffirmed on
a visit to the offices of one of Britain’s largest building
contractors, a trip which has summed up the ethos
behind the Diploma – to familiarise students with
what is happening in the world of commerce. “The
trip was fantastic and we learned a lot about building
Welcome to work
big projects. I would love to work for a company like
that,” she says. Tony Johnston media, producing newspapers, magazines and websites
In her spare time Salomey, 14, loves to draw Head of Training, Press Association with careers advice and an insight into how the modern
and takes this valuable skill and enthusiasm into media works.
the Diploma course. However, she believes that it’s Tony Johnston believes preparing students for the world Tony supports practical learning through the
important to maintain progress at both maths and of work is not just about teaching them the obvious skills Diploma because of the benefits it brings to both
English. She is also, alongside this, studying a BTEC of, say, preparing a pitch or project management. students and employers.
certificate in ICT and a GCSE in drama, as well as “It’s different, because it really gears you up for He explains: “The ‘softer’ skills are also very “In the future we will encourage more schools to
English, maths and science. the work you’ll be doing in the future. It was the right important – such as teamwork, getting on with people come in and put together their own newspapers in order
For Salomey, a student at the David Young education route to choose.” and even good time-keeping.” to learn real media skills for the Diploma,” says Tony.
Community Academy in Seacroft, Leeds, the great So what next for this bright student? “I want to Tony is head of training for the Press Association, He adds: “For the Press Association offering such
benefit of the Diploma is combining classroom learning study for my level 3 and then maybe a degree in interior the UK’s national news agency, which offers Diploma- training is both good public relations and makes
with acquiring practical skills such as bricklaying, design,” she says confidently. “This course gives you style work-related training to school students at training young people more aware of the media and our role.
joinery and electrics, which will help her to move into a good idea of what to do next to get into the job you suites in London and Howden in East Yorkshire. Ultimately we need to recruit switched-on people and
the industry. want later.” They gain a unique insight into the world of the this will help.”
SecEd • April 2 2009 19
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