QCA today announced the accreditation of the central learning elements of the first five new Diplomas. Qualifications covering the principal learning and the project for each Diploma will be available for first teaching from September 2008.

The first five areas in which the Diploma will be delivered are Construction and Building, Creative and Media, Engineering, Information technology and Society, health and Development

Principal learning is the key constituent qualification in each Diploma and covers the essential curriculum relating to the sector title. The project is similar to the extended project that is currently being developed at A level and will develop a high degree of planning, preparation, research and autonomous working. Principal learning and the project are combined with functional skills and additional and/or specialist learning to make the whole Diploma.

As well as the accreditation announcement, QCA has published the operating rules for Diploma and Component awarding bodies. The rules set out the principles, information and clarification needed for the operation of the Diploma.

The criteria for phase 2 Lines of Learning have also been published on the QCA website today. Diplomas in Business Administration and Finance, Environmental and Land-based studies, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and Catering, and Manufacturing and Product Design will be available for first teaching in September 2009.

QCA Chief Executive, Ken Boston, said:?QCA and our partners are committed to ensuring that the new Diplomas provide young people with new study programmes, new approaches to teaching and learning and a new employer-endorsed curriculum designed to give all 14 to 19 year-olds a fully rounded education and equip them for higher education and employment.

?QCA is dedicated to ensuring that all qualifications that we regulate are of a high quality. Teachers, employers, higher education and, most importantly, learners can have confidence in these new and innovative qualifications.

?The development of the Diplomas has attracted tremendous interest from a wide range of awarding bodies individually and in partnership. Some have decided not to submit qualifications for accreditation for 2008, in order to take more time for the planning and development of high quality and innovative Diploma specifications. I am very pleased that these awarding bodies are committed to being at the heart of the developmental process, and envisage them playing a major role in Diploma provision from 2009. QCA wishes to see learners having the widest possible choice from a full range of high quality programmes?

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