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Qualifications, knowledge and curriculum divisions: an analysis of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

Bibila, Stavroula 2016. Qualifications, knowledge and curriculum divisions: an analysis of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis is based on a research study that examined aspects of the implementation of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma. Particular emphasis is given to the compulsory integration of Essential Skills Wales into the upper-secondary curriculum and the extent to which this contributes towards fulfilling the policy promise to offer a common learning Core to all students irrespective of their programmes of study and site of learning. By drawing insights from Bernstein’s sociology, I provide a principled analysis of the challenge of integrating these generic forms of everyday knowledge and make empirically visible their theoretically identified misrecognition and complexity. Based on a comparative twin case study (i.e. Communication and Application of Number) carried out across six considerably different educational sites, my findings uncover the peculiarities and challenges of pacing and evaluating the teaching and learning involved in Essential Skills Wales, and also point to administrative constraints, individual and institutional commitment to the demonstration of knowledge acquisition (i.e. certification). Students’ choices of subjects and qualifications (i.e. A level and BTECs), and the prioritisation of these, point to the power Higher Education institutions have to influence upper-secondary education. This is a separate strand of empirical work in the study, through which we see the possibility of a shift towards vocational qualifications under the overarching Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma. Based on this indication, I put forward the suggestion that, although the Welsh Baccalaureate is a notable attempt to change the relationship between specialised and everyday knowledge, and between academic (general) and vocational qualifications, it remains the latest form of the applied studies track in a tripartite upper-secondary system. To conclude, the Welsh Baccalaureate may contribute to the creation of a more subtle system of pedagogic differentiation, but upper-secondary education in Wales and the rest of the UK will most likely continue to be highly specialised, competitive and stratified.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:51

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