DfE Diploma Gateway
Our professional insight and process management skills are brought together to great effect in this high-profile Government 14-19 education project…
The Diploma Gateway process is centred on nine Regional panels which meet annually to examine proposals from consortia of schools and colleges wishing to introduce new Diploma courses in any of the 17 lines of applied learning, including creative and media, IT, sport and active leisure, and engineering.
Cambridge Education was first appointed in 2006 to partner DfE in the design and delivery of the groundbreaking first Diploma Gateway. We have since successfully managed Gateways 2 and 3, and are currently close to completing Gateway 4.
The Region Panels are usually chaired by the Government Office Director of Children and Learners, and managed and facilitated by Cambridge Education, with professional and logistical elements integrated into a seamless service.
Working closely with DfE and multiple stakeholders (including the employer representatives in the Diploma Development Partnerships) Cambridge Education first created and then refined an application process and corresponding assessment scheme based on a matrix addressing six critical aspects:
- Understanding of Diploma components
- Information, Advice & Guidance (IAG)
- Employer Engagement
“The relationship worked very well and the overall process delivered a good outcome that has been recognised as such by a wide range of stakeholders. I think we felt that the process provided an excellent check on quality of submissions and your input was a real strength here.”
Dominic Herrington, DfE Deputy Director
Using the matrix, our expert assessors provide ‘Red Amber Green’ (RAG) ratings and evaluative commentary on each application, prior to the panel meetings, giving a firm basis for sound decision making. During the panel meetings, we advise, support and guide so that robust decisions are reached about whether or not to approve each application and what conditions to set.
Decisions are scrutinised and confirmed by a National moderation panel and are then announced by the Schools Minister. Following the announcement, we provide written and oral feedback to consortia and Local Authorities, and undertake periodic reviews of those granted conditional approval. We are also involved in resolving appeals.
Alongside the assessment and panel work, Cambridge Education has developed and delivered a web-based management information (MI) system to gather intelligence about local Diploma partnerships and their delivery plans. The system makes it easy for Local Authorities and consortia to supply information in a format that can be interrogated to inform strategy, and also enables them to submit their applications electronically.
The Diploma programme has a high political profile and demand for MI is considerable. Our MI system allows us to respond rapidly and accurately to information requests from the DfE, its partners, and wider audiences. We often supply information for Ministerial briefings and answers to Parliamentary Questions.
Across 150 Local Authority areas 350 consortia were approved to deliver a total of 2,400 Diploma courses commencing between September 2008 and September 2011.
Consistently good feedback from DfE and others demonstrates a high level of confidence amongst stakeholders (including, crucially, employer representatives) in the robustness of the process and the quality of its outcomes.
Find out more
For more information about the Diploma Gateway, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org