The long-awaited consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at Level 3 and below has finally been published.
Aiming to streamline qualifications for post-16 students, this first stage of the consultation sets out the principles for the future availability of qualifications, funding only those that are high quality, have a distinct purpose, are truly necessary and support progression to successful outcomes.
The DfE’s key principles proposed for post-16 qualifications within the review are:
The government expects, as a result of the review, that there will be far fewer qualifications at Levels 3 and below approved for funding post-16 than is the case at present. This is particularly the case where a qualification at Level 3 overlaps with a T Level or A Level; making T Levels and A Levels the options of choice for students undertaking Level 3 classroom-based education is the clearly stated aim.
The review covers qualifications at Entry Level, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 that are approved for funding for providers in England for their students aged 16 and over. Changes are not proposed to GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels, T Levels, English and maths Functional Skills qualifications (Level 2 and below) or the new basic digital skills qualifications. The DfE does not believe there is a strong case for change at this stage for pre-16 Technical Awards.
Currently at Level 3, older versions of Applied General qualifications are taught alongside newer versions that have been designed to meet performance table criteria. The DfE has decided to withdraw approval for funding for the older versions of these qualifications from 1 August 2020. Students already enrolled on these courses will be funded through to completion. Awarding Organisations will have the opportunity to notify the DfE if they believe a pre-existing qualification should remain approved for public funding. The review will also consider the potential continuing need for a small number of technical qualifications outside of the T Level framework to meet specialist or “niche” skills needs.
The consultation in two stages will also consider: