Three quarters of teachers do not view diplomas as route to university. The new 14-19 Diplomas are not seen as an appropriate qualification for bright students wanting to go on to higher education, according to a poll of 1,300 teachers released by the Sutton Trust today.

The survey, carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey), found that just one quarter (24%) of teachers thought that the Diploma was suitable for the academically able and just one fifth (21%) believed it was suitable for those who want to go to university.

By contrast, A levels were seen by the vast majority of teachers as appropriate for able students (94%) and for those wanting to enter higher education (96%).

Three quarter of teachers (74%) also perceived the Diploma as being for schools in poorer areas, but only three in ten (29%) thought it was suitable for independent schools. Eighty-three percent of teachers thought the qualification was for those wanting to pursue a vocational route.

The survey also looked at teachers’ views of the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge Pre-U exam. Many teachers felt they did not know enough about these qualifications, but those who did generally believed them to be suitable for bright students who want to go on to higher education and for use in independent schools, but less suitable for schools in poor areas.

James Turner, Director of Policy at the Sutton Trust, commented:

“At a time when Diplomas are being heavily promoted to schools and students, it is worrying that the perception amongst teachers – who should be best informed – is that these are not for bright young people with university ambitions.

This reflects a wider confusion amongst students, teachers and parents about the role and currency of the different qualifications available in schools and colleges. In an increasingly complex environment, young people need clear messages about where choices at age 14 and 16 are likely to lead them so they can make realistic decisions based on their education and career aspirations.

In the absence of such clarity, there is a real danger of a divide emerging between those pupils in independent and top state schools who are set on an academic path, leading to places in selective universities, and students from non-privileged backgrounds who have those opportunities closed to them early on.”

Summary results

 All teachers

Suitable for the academically able94%24%62%44%
Suitable for those who want to go to university96%21%56%36%
Suitable for those who want to pursue a vocational route18%83%13%1%
Suitable for independent schools75%29%58%43%
Suitable for schools in poorer areas70%74%35%21%
I don’t know enough about the qualification3%24%36%61%
Base number1297128912641248

Secondary only

Suitable for the academically able99%30%73%51%
Suitable for those who want to go to university99%29%67%42%
Suitable for those who want to pursue a vocational route18%93%12%2%
Suitable for independent schools80%34%69%51%
Suitable for schools in poorer areas74%84%37%25%
I don’t know enough about the qualification0%13%25%56%
Base number689685674670

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