27/10/2011 13:43 BST | Updated 27/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Vocational Qualifications Set To Be Axed From League Tables

Thousands of vocational qualifications are set to be axed from school league tables under a major shake-up of the system.

It is understood that only a few hundred will count in the future.

At the moment, around 7,000 vocational qualifications (VQs) are included in league tables alongside traditional qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Whilst there are no targets, we expect a significant cut in the number of qualifications which will count in the tables.

"There are currently 7,000 qualifications included. We'd expect that to drop to a few hundred."

The move is part of the Government's attempt to stop schools from encouraging teenagers to take qualifications that boost the school's league table position, but do not help a pupil's prospects.

Under plans which were first announced in July, only "high quality" VQs that meet certain criteria will be included in the league tables, with every qualification counting equally.

Under the current system, some VQs are worth multiple GCSEs. For example, a level 2 BTEC in horse care is worth four GCSEs at grade C or higher.

From 2014, a VQ will count if it has a proven track record; if it offers youngsters the chance to go on and do a wide range of courses; if it is the size of a GCSE or bigger; if it has a "substantial" amount of external assessment and if it is marked by means of A*-G grades.