The Department for Education has published its long-awaited response to the review of post-16 qualifications at Level 3. This has confirmed that students at 16 will have the option to follow either an academic route or a technical route.
Building on the recommendations of the Wolf Review of Vocational Education and Lord Sainsbury’s panel on technical education, the review sought views on proposals aimed at simplifying the Level 3 landscape and ensuring that qualifications are high-quality and will lead to strong outcomes for every student in terms of further study and employment.
The DfE response to the review confirms that the dominant qualifications in the academic route will be A Levels but funding will also be retained for others where applied qualifications are taken alongside A Levels to help provide progression to Higher Education.
‘Other general’ qualifications including Core Maths, the Extended Project and the International Baccalaureate will continue to be funded in the academic route.
The technical route will be dominated by apprenticeships and T Levels. The reforms will lead to the removal of funding of a large number of existing qualifications, especially in the technical route. The DfE argues that there are far too many vocational qualifications resulting in a complex and confusing landscape. The clear intention is that many thousands of existing qualifications will be phased out.
The DfE plans will also introduce rules for the funding of adult provision. These are less prescriptive than the rules set out for 16-19 year olds, recognising that adults require a flexibility that allows for small qualifications and for modular approaches.
Reforms will be introduced on a phased basis. Proposals for post-16 qualifications at Level 2 and below will be subject to a separate consultation in the autumn.