Department for Education written question – answered on 18th May 2023.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an estimate of the number of (a) further and (b) higher education courses that have been discontinued in England in the last two years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department consulted with Further Education colleges on the discontinuation of courses.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data her Department holds on the number of further education (a) arts, (b) vocational, (c) science and (d) technical courses that have been discontinued in the last two years.
The government’s qualifications reforms are designed to ensure that qualifications at level 3 and below are necessary, high quality, and have a clear purpose. A levels and T Levels should be at the heart of level 3 study programmes going forward. We do allow for other small, alternative academic qualifications in strategically important areas, and additional technical qualifications in areas not covered by T Levels, in specialist occupations and in cross cutting areas, such as health and safety. Our new system places the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education occupational standards at the heart of technical education, because these have been designed by employers and will give young people the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers need.
The number of further education qualifications from which the department has removed funding approval in the last two years is 5,768 (2021/22 and 2022/23 funding years).
This includes qualifications where funding approval has been removed as a result of the qualification having no or low publicly funded demand, or where qualifications have been reformed and newer qualifications developed in their place, for instance the introduction of new Essential Digital Skills Qualifications, which replaced older ICT qualifications.
This does not cover where an awarding organisation decides to discontinue one of its qualifications or where a college, or other education and training provider, decides to stop offering a qualification.
The department has not removed funding approval from any higher-level qualifications in the last two years.
Where the department intends to remove funding approval from qualifications, further education (FE) colleges or other education and training providers are made aware through the publication and communication of initial lists of qualifications in scope. There is a process for awarding organisations to appeal the decision to remove funding approval, and FE colleges or other education and training providers are encouraged to work with awarding organisations to submit evidence for appeals.
It is also important to point out that the department has and continues to consult on broader qualifications reform with colleges and other education and training providers.
In the last two funding years, 450 arts qualifications and 36 science qualifications have had funding approval removed. 5,282 other vocational and technical qualifications have also had funding approval removed during this period.
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