Department of Education consults on rationalising post-16 qualifications that compete with T Levels by 2023

According to its recently published consultation paper, the Department of Education (“DfE”) considers that with “more than 12,000 different qualifications funded in England at level 3 and below”. The quality of education and skills provided across the piece do not provide the world class technical education that the DfE is aiming for.

The proposal is to remove the availability of public funding for the majority of the qualifications that overlap with A-levels and T Levels by 2023. Under the proposals, the government would fund:

  • qualifications that “give people the knowledge, skills and behaviours described in an employer-led standard that is not covered by a T Level”,
  • additional specialist” qualifications that develop “more specialist skills and knowledge than could be acquired through a T Level alone”,
  • qualifications that would “complement A-levels, for example, if they have more of a practical component,  such as health and social care or engineering”,
  • a “specific, limited group of well-recognised, small qualifications that develop wider skills to support study at higher education such as core maths, performing arts graded qualifications and extended project qualifications”, and
  • large” qualifications that would “typically make up a student’s full programme of study and could be taken as an alternative to A-levels if they give access to specialist HE courses, such as those with high levels of practical content”.

The plans proposed would likely have a dramatic impact on the vocational and technical qualifications offering available to learners in England, affecting the choice that can be offered in schools and further education as well as the commercial position of individual awarding organisations and end point assessment organisations. To have your voice heard and put on record in relation to these DfE proposals, take the opportunity to respond to the consultation by no later than 15 January 2021.

Should you wish to discuss the proposals and their potential impact, please do not hesitate to contact Emma Dowden-Teale on [email protected], Claire Whittle on [email protected] or Joanna Howard on [email protected]


This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of November 5, 2020.