To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of phasing out BTEC qualifications on the number of (a) young people and (b) young people from (i) working class and (ii) marginalised backgrounds choosing to begin further education; and whether it is taking steps to address concerns on phasing out those qualifications raised by the Protect Student Choice campaign.
Qualifications such as BTECs continue to play an important role for 16 to 19-year-olds and adults. The qualifications review will ensure that these qualifications are approved for funding, where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that A levels and T Levels cannot provide, and where they meet new quality standards.
An assessment of the potential equalities impacts of the removal of funding for level 3 qualifications, which includes some BTECs, was carried out as part of the impact assessment published alongside the July 2021 policy statement on level 3 qualifications. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reforms-to-post-16-qualifications-at-level-3-in-england. Overall, the department expects the impact of our reforms to be positive. Students will have clearer choices and access to higher quality qualifications in future, including new T Levels. This will put students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in a stronger position to progress into further study or skilled employment.
The department is committed to supporting students to progress onto level 3 qualifications in future. This is why we have launched the T Level Transition Programme for those who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level, but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation. Additionally, in our recent consultation on qualifications at level 2 and below, the department confirmed our intention to pilot an Academic Progression Programme to support students who may have the potential to take an academic programme at level 3, but who are not ready to do so when entering post-16 education.
We expect to publish the government response to the consultation in due course.