The Government estimates close to 40,000 students will take the new diplomas which cover five fields including ‘engineering’ and ‘construction and the built environment’.
The courses are designed to combine academic theory and practical skills. Figures released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families this week show 157 schools and colleges in London will offer the diplomas with 162 in the North West – the most in any region.
Schools secretary Ed Balls said: “These figures show that Diplomas are proving a popular choice for schools and colleges. Diplomas will offer learners a new route into further and higher education as well as into skilled work.”
More than 800 schools and over 150 colleges will form consortiums across the country to deliver the diplomas.
The other subjects covered by diplomas include creative and media, information technology and health and development. The Government cannot confirm what the take up for each course will be.
The next five Diplomas will be available from September 2009 and will be in manufacturing and product design plus business, administration and finance, land-based and environmental studies, hair and beauty, and hospitality.
In December UCAS - which is responsible for managing applications to higher education - announced the points value of the Advanced Diploma will be the same as that awarded for three and a half A Levels.