Byline: Jonathan Walker
Birmingham's Chief Education Officer has welcomed plans to introduce vocational GCSEs as an alternative to traditional academic subjects.
Education Secretary Estelle Morris will today publish a Green Paper setting out details of the new qualifications, which will be taught in the workplace as well as the classroom.
She hopes the courses will attract young people who take little or no interest in academic courses.
However, the plans have provided controversial, with critics attacking the prospect of youngsters giving up on languages and other traditional subjects at the age of 14.
There are also fears the scheme could usher in a new era of universal selection, as schools steer youngsters away from academic subjects if they are unlikely to get a grade C or above, to improve their league table position.
And last night the Association of Colleges said the new courses required hundreds of millions of pounds to work.
Prof Tim Brighouse, whose ideas on raising standards have been highly influential on Labour's education policy, said: 'Anything that widens the range of ways in which we assess young people during this part of their education is to be welcomed.
'If we do this then we find more ways of unlocking their particular interests.
'The vocational GCSEs seem to me to be one way of doing this, and I believe most schools will welcome it. …