Watered-down plans to transform secondary education have been defended by Schools Standards Minister Stephen Twigg.
But Birmingham's director of education Tony Howell yesterday added his voice to the concern expressed by the education community over the proposals.
Mr Twigg spoke out in the wake of criticism that the Government had shied away from implementing radical changes to the 14-19 curriculum recommended by Sir Mike Tomlinson.
They would have seen GCSEs and A-levels incorporated into a diploma with equal emphasis on vocational subjects. Instead, new Education Secretary Ruth Kelly wants to keep the exams as they are and introduce new vocational diploma routes.
Speaking to The Birmingham Post, Mr Twigg claimed the focus on GCSEs and A-levels missed the point.
"The real test is whether we can get a set of vocational options that have the status that everyone wants them to have," he said. Mr Twigg claimed it would have been a mistake to remove established qualifications.
"Currently with GCSEs and A-levels we have a set of qualifications that are well understood," he said.
But Mr Howell said: "There is still this feeling that it is over-emphasising academic routes and under-valuing vocational routes which are exactly the right routes for some young people.
Mr Howell said the Government might have been swayed by traditionalists in the university and business sector.