On Monday, during the second reading of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, announced that level 3 qualification reforms were being slowed down to allow the sector more time to prepare for the changes. As a result, qualifications will not be defunded until 2024 at the earliest, rather than 2023 under the original timetable.
Following a two-stage level 3 and below review, launched in March 2019, DfE announced it would strip public funding from “poor quality” level 3 qualifications which overlap with T Levels or A-levels.
The policy change follows a petition from the Protect Student Choice campaign, a coalition of FE and skills sector organisations led by the Sixth Form Colleges Association, which has been calling for the plans to be reversed or slowed down.
Nadhim Zahawi revealed the exit requirements for English and maths in T Levels will be removed. During the reading, he told MPs: “I am clear that T Levels and A-levels should be front and centre of the level 3 landscape. But I am also convinced that we need other qualifications alongside them, many of which currently exist, that play a valuable role in supporting good outcomes for students. It is quite likely we will see many BTECs and other similar applied general style qualifications continuing to play an important role in 16 to 19 education, for the foreseeable future. Our reforms to the qualifications landscape are rightly ambitious, but we know that we would be wrong to push too hard and risk compromising quality. That is why I am announcing we have decided to allow an extra year before our reform timetable is implemented.”
It means that qualifications affected by the cull will now not be defunded until 2024 at the earliest, compared to the original plan of 2023.
The Education Secretary also confirmed government will consult on proposals for reform of qualifications at level 2 and below later this year, to ensure learners have clear lines of sight to level 3 apprenticeships, traineeships and employment.
FIS Skills Board
The FIS Skills Board supports the development of qualifications and standards for the sector to ensure a competent workforce. If you are interested in finding out more about the Skills Board, or would like to join, contact FIS Skills and Training Lead, George Swann.