The Department for Education has opened a consultation reviewing post-16 qualifications at level 3.  The scope of the consultation is for classroom based learning for both academic and technical qualifications.

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The consultation is based on the premise that A Levels and T Levels will be the primary route for classroom based learning for students aged 16-19 wanting to pursue academic or technical paths respectively.  These proposals are aimed at simplifying the routes available for students who them wish to progress onto higher technical qualifications, i.e. Level 4 or 5 apprenticeships. 

The key proposals include:

Removing funding for the majority of current technical qualifications at Level 3 with the exception of:

  • Qualifications providing competence against employer-led standards not covered by T Levels1
  • Additional Specialist Qualifications which develop more specialist skill and knowledge than could be acquired through T Levels alone2

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee funds Level 3 technical courses for adults, and so T Levels should also be available to adult learners with the below difference:

  • The courses should offer greater flexibility and allow for modular delivery of content recognising prior learning and including a robust competency assessment at the end of the course.3
  • The exceptions listed for T Level qualifications would also apply to adult learners.

Members are asked to consider the following questions in relation to the consultation

  1. Are there any classroom based Level 3 qualifications currently used by the sector that would be at risk of defunding? What impact would this have?
  2. Will T levels cover the learning from these defunded qualifications? Where are there potential gaps?
  3. Are there any potential issues from these proposals we should flag to government?
  4. Please share any comments/concerns that may not have already been covered.


1. DfE Review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 in England: Second Stage, pg. 21

2. Ibid. pg. 22

3. Ibid. pg 12

Consultation closed

We are currently formulating our response

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