More diploma courses for Norfolk

Up to 500 extra students could benefit from diplomas in Norfolk next year as a host of new courses are set to open in the county.

Up to 500 extra students could benefit from diplomas in Norfolk next year as a host of new courses are set to open in the county.

Diplomas are new qualifications that already provide a more practical option than A-levels for students in 14 different subjects.

Now Norfolk County Council has successfully bid to bring a further 27 courses to the county.

Existing diplomas will be taught by new school and college partnerships and many additional courses are to be created in the humanities, science, retail business and languages.

The extra courses will mean that up to 2,000 students in total will be able to take diplomas by September next year.

By 2011 the number of subjects on offer will rise to 17, and all of these will be offered in the county as six school and college partnerships have bid for the new courses.

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In 2013 the age of participation in education will increase to 17 so everyone up to that age will need to be in some form of learning, whether it is A-levels, a diploma or an apprenticeship.

Two years after that the age will rise again to 18, making diplomas an even more important option for those looking for a more vocational route.

Shelagh Hutson, cabinet member for children's services, said: 'Diplomas offer more work-based and practical learning than more traditional qualifications and give young people a chance to specialise in subjects that are linked closely to specific careers.

'Norfolk has really embraced these diplomas and our schools and colleges have worked tremendously hard to ensure we have a wide range of courses available across the county.

'These courses are supporting more young people to stay in education and training and helping them to develop valuable skills to support them into the world of work.'

Norfolk was an early adopter of the new diplomas, thanks to the Norwich Open Opportunity Consortium, a partnership between City College Norwich, City Academy Norwich and City of Norwich, Framingham Earl High, Notre Dame High and The Hewett schools.

Diplomas usually last two years and take place at a student's own school or in other schools, colleges or even businesses in the area.

Once completed, young people can move on to take further diplomas, A-levels or an apprenticeship.

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