Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the next stage in the government’s plan to improve the quality of post-16 qualifications is underway.
In 2019, the government unveiled plans to remove funding from qualifications that overlap with A levels and T Levels. It said it would only provide funding to qualifications at level 3 that are deemed high quality and result in positive outcomes for students.
Last week, Williamson confirmed that the government is persevering with these ‘vital’ reforms. He discussed detailed measures that will ensure all students can be confident that, regardless of where they live or what course they take, it will set them up for success.
The Gov.UK website lists the new measures, which will be consulted on over 12 weeks. They include:
- Putting employers at the centre of creating and developing all level 3 technical qualifications. This is already the case for T Levels, apprenticeships and new higher technical qualifications, though the government is planning to further it so that students and employers can be certain they’re gaining the skills they need to thrive.
- Taking away funding for qualifications overlapping with A levels and T Levels, which will help to simplify choices for students. But at the same time, offering funding for high quality A level alternatives that support students in progressing onto specialist courses, like sports and performing arts.
- Making sure any qualification approved for funding meets a high quality standard and enables students to progress into work or further study.
- Ensuring adults have access to more qualifications, such as the new T levels, giving more people a chance to retrain and/or upskill.
Williamson said: “Now more than ever we must redouble our efforts to support as many people as possible to access high quality education and training, so they can get ahead and so employers can tap into the talented workforce they need as we build back better from coronavirus.”
DfE figures highlighted a confusing landscape of more than 12,000 courses available to young people at level 3 and below. There were multiple qualifications available covering the same subject areas, and many were found to be poor in quality and provide little value to employers and students.
This autumn, the Education Secretary is set to publish a whitepaper detailing plans to create a world-class further education system – ‘one that unlocks potential, levels up skills and boosts opportunities for people across the country,’ the government website explains.
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