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DfE consultation: Review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England

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The government has opened a consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England. This can be found on - click here.

This consultation is the first stage of the government’s review of post-16 level 3 and below qualifications (excluding T levels, A levels and GCSEs). It asks for views on the high-level principles and outlines proposals for the removal of funding approval for unreformed qualifications. The government is particularly interested to hear about the impact of the proposals on pupils with SEND and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This consultation may be particularly relevant to members who offer qualifications alongside GCSEs, A levels and/or T levels.

The current proposals put forward by the DfE in this first consultation are:

  • To withdraw approval for funding from 1 August 2020 for new starts on qualifications that the DfE deems meet its criteria for 'pre-exisitng qualifications'. Students already enrolled/registerd on these courses will be funded through to completion.
  • To withdraw approval for funding new starts on qualifications with no take-up from August 2021.
  • To withdraw approval for funding for new starts on qualifications with low take-up (under 100 enrolments) from August 2021.
  • From September 2023 onward, to remove approval funding from applied general and tech level qualifications, where they overlap with A levels or T levels and do not meet defined characteristics that will be consulted on as part of the second consultation.
  • To review current post-16 entry level, level 1, level 2 and other level 3 qualifications (eg those for adults). The DfE will agree the principles on which these will be made eligible for funding in the future, based on the results of the consultation. The DfE aims to consult on its proposals for changes to funding for post-16 level 2 and below qualifications in late 2019.
  • To gather views and evidence about the general principles that should apply to qualifications that 19+ students use, reflecting the differing circumstances of adult learners. 

The consultation is open for 12 weeks and will close on 10 June 2019. The second stage of the review will take place after this.

If you have any queries, please email

First published 29 March 2019