The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that an assessment by examination must be taken at the end of a pupil’s course of study for technical awards to be first taught from September 2021.
This ‘terminal assessment’ for pupils typically sitting the exam at the end of year 11, is one of the new criteria to be applied following an earlier consultation which focused on technical awards offered to 14 to 16 year olds.
Taken by 35% of key stage 4 pupils alongside GCSEs, technical awards are Level 1 and 2 non-GCSE performance table qualifications that are designed to provide pupils with applied knowledge and practical skills of a sector or occupational group.
Awarding organisations must now submit technical awards for inclusion on the 2023 performance tables under new DfE criteria. These include:
As previously determined, technical awards must be designed to be engaging for pupils who have chosen to take them as an alternative to GCSEs, with a comparable level of demand to support attainment and future progression.
None of the technical awards approved for use in performance tables in previous years will automatically be eligible for inclusion in the 2023 tables.
All technical award submissions by AOs will be reviewed by Ofqual and the DfE against their requirements with the final decision on inclusion in performance tables resting with the Secretary of State. The deadline for submitting qualifications to the DfE is 30 April 2020. There will be one submission window with one subsequent opportunity for AOs to request a review of the DfE decision.
Ofqual has published a new regulatory framework for technical awards that will apply to those qualifications once they are approved for inclusion in the performance tables.