Department for Education written statement – made on 25th May 2023.
Today I am announcing an update to phase 2 of the Government’s reforms to post-16 qualifications at level 3 in England – removing funding from technical qualifications that overlap with T Levels. We are publishing a provisional list: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wave-3-t-levels-overlapping-qualifications, of 92 technical qualifications that have been assessed to overlap with wave 3 T Levels: Business and Administration; Engineering and Manufacturing; and Finance and Accounting.
The assessment of overlapping qualifications is carried out by independent assessors, who carry out in-depth reviews of qualifications. This is the same process as for waves 1 and 2 T Levels. Subject to the outcomes of an appeal process which gives awarding organisations the opportunity to contest a qualification’s placement on the list, we will withdraw public funding at 16-19 from these qualifications for new starts from August 2025. On the provisional list of 92 qualifications, we know there were 36 qualifications which had no enrolments and a further 24 had fewer than 100 enrolments in 2020/21 academic year, highlighting the need to streamline the qualifications system. The final overlap list for wave 3 T Levels will be published in the autumn.
We are reforming technical qualifications at level 3 as the current qualifications do not consistently progress young people to related employment. In the future technical qualifications will be based on IfATE’s occupational standards which have been designed by employers and which set out the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that employers need.
Removing funding from technical qualifications which overlap with T Levels will ensure young people can feel confident that they are studying technical qualifications which will prepare them for jobs in their chosen occupation. The breadth and depth of T Levels is unmatched, giving students a thorough understanding of the sector and the skills needed to work in specific occupations, as well as an industry placement which gives them valuable experience.
T Levels are being scaled up in a managed rollout, with 16 subjects currently available at over 160 providers across England, with 24 T Levels in total planned by 2025. We are continuing to build on the success of T Levels and have put in place extra measures to support providers, employers and students. We are providing a 10% uplift in funding to providers delivering T Levels for the 2023-24 academic year, a new £12m Employer Support Fund and extra funding for providers to provide careers guidance on T Levels. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is also supporting providers as they make the move to T Levels. This includes a new Technical Education Networks Programme to offer subject-specific support for T Level teaching, and providing grant funding to the Baker Dearing Educational Trust to support UTCs in their transition to T Levels.
We are supporting more learners to access T Levels through the T Level transition programme. This is a high quality, holistic study programme for learners who would benefit from the additional study time and preparation that it will give them before they start their T Level. Learners on the programme develop a broad range of knowledge, skills and behaviours to prepare them for T Levels. This includes the national technical content developed for the programme, through which learners gain industry-relevant technical knowledge and practical skills aligned to T Levels, as well as gaining valuable work experience and preparation for the workplace, English, maths and digital skills, developing their study skills and wider personal development. In total, close to 9,800 students have enrolled on the programme in the first three years, since 2020, and provisional estimates show that c.49% of the first cohort subsequently progressed onto level 3 or higher outcomes.
The removal of public funding from qualifications that overlap with T Levels at 16-19 forms a small part of our wider technical education reforms. Our new integrated funding approval process means that from 2025, awarding organisations can develop and submit new technical qualifications for funding, which are based on occupational standards approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
Awarding organisations with qualifications on the wave 3 overlap list have been notified, as have the Federation of Awarding Bodies and Joint Council for Qualifications.