The Department for Education (DfE) is part way through a two-stage consultation about which post-16 qualifications at Level 3 and below should receive public funding.
The review of post-16 qualifications at Level 3 and below aims to ensure that all qualifications are high quality with a distinct purpose, necessary and support students to progress into employment or further study.
We are expecting feedback on stage 1 of the review in spring 2020 together with proposals for stage 2.
Although nothing is certain at this stage, OCR remains confident that qualifications which fall into the categories of applied general qualifications (AGQs) and tech levels that are smaller than three A Level equivalent qualifications (Extended Diplomas) will continue to be funded as Level 3 vocational qualifications, and will continue to form part of the 16-19 accountability measurements.
We also anticipate that where a T Level pathway is not available, performance table-compliant qualifications of three A Level equivalence will be available. OCR expects the applied general category to remain as the broader vocational qualification category for which it has become known.
We expect the tech level category to disappear as T Levels take hold. However, the roll out of T Levels across the country will take time – the DfE has referred to T Levels as a ten-year programme. We anticipate that even where tech levels duplicate T Level provision, it will be some time before the duplicate qualifications can be withdrawn and that this will only be done with notice once the relevant T Level is well established and universally available.
Currently, OCR’s Level 3 Cambridge Technical performance table qualifications have an Ofqual review date of 31 August 2021. This is the point at which OCR will have reviewed the qualifications’ fitness for purpose. We expect to extend Cambridge Technicals beyond 2021 dependent on the outcome of the government review.
Stage one of this government review included proposals to withdraw funding from qualifications with a history of low or no uptake post-16 in England from August 2021. The DfE is now enacting these proposals based on qualifications with less than 100 enrolments in each of the last three years. OCR is currently checking the list of qualifications being defunded carefully, and will consult with colleges and training providers to make sure there will be no adverse impact, particularly on students with protected characteristics.