News | Published February 14 2020

Government to scrap 5,000 post-GCSE qualifications

The Department for Education has announced it will pull funding from 5,000 post-GCSE qualifications ahead of the introduction of T-levels in September.

There are currently 12,000 available courses and this reduction in funding will cut this by around 40 per cent. Those being cut are the least popular, with few if any students choosing to study them.

Most of the courses being removed focus on specific job roles or niche sectors, such as dry-stone walling or warehouse management, but also include entry-level qualifications and a course designed to boost the confidence of struggling learners.

Courses which are specifically aimed at students with physical and learning disabilities are also being discontinued.

The inclusion of these courses has led to criticism, with Tom Bewick, the head of the trade association for examining bodies, saying: “We have got young people, who are leaving school who are turned off by classroom learning. They need opportunities for learning by doing, to get practical vocational qualifications.

“There are hundreds of niche qualifications with low enrolments or serve those with special educational needs, that could be axed by this exercise if government does not proceed with some caution.”

In order to ensure qualifications which are still in demand are not scrapped, the government will seek views on whether any of the qualifications should continue to be funded.

By reducing the number of courses available, the government, and education secretary Gavin Williamson, are seeking to simplify the routes available to students after GCSE. 

In September, following the introduction of T-levels, students will essentially have three possible routes: A levels, apprenticeships or T-levels.

T-levels are designed to combine conventional learning with industry placements to ensure students can gain practical skills. In September, the first three courses will be made available, although only 2000 places will be offered.

The courses are vocationally focused, with examples including accountancy, catering and manufacturing, and have been developed in collaboration and dialogue with employers to ensure students are adequately prepared to enter employment.

Announcing this move, Williamson said: “Removing funding for qualifications that have no or low numbers of enrolments will help make sure students have a clearer choice of the qualifications on offer, and ensure they get the skills they need to progress.” 

The full list of scrapped qualifications can be found here

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
February 14 2020

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