AoC comment and analysis on DfE's latest Level 3 defunding plan

13 May 2022

At the Association of Colleges (AoC), we are glad to see a bit of much-needed clarity on the long-awaited draft list of qualifications which will be defunded from 2024.  We have carried out an analysis on college enrolments on these qualifications in this note

The Education Secretary announced an extra year for the transition at last November's AoC conference and there have been some improvements since the previous proposals, but  we are still concerned that almost 10% of enrolments will be impacted by these changes. No student should be left high and dry without a qualification to study. 

We hope that awarding bodies, Ofqual and IfATE can approve the new or repurposed qualifications which run alongside A Levels and T Levels swiftly so there are no gaps in provision. T Levels need to be accessible to as broad a range of students as possible and colleges have concerns that this is not the case currently. DfE has allowed 8 weeks for awarding organisations to make appeals. We are encouraging colleges to use this process and have also suggested to the department that they accept information from those who know the qualifications best (the colleges who deliver them) as well as from those who use them after completion.

For colleges to plan appropriately, it is important that DfE publishs a second list of qualifications which will continue to be funded as soon as possible. Qualifications in areas like Sports and Perfoming Arts where there is no overlap with a T level will presumably continue but there are areas of uncertainty. Colleges will also need time to prepare for any new qualifications which are introduced.

As the number of students taking T Levels continues to grow, and alternative routes are reduced, it is vital that the government does everything it can to ensure more employers provide sufficient work placements, otherwise T Levels will be unworkable for a large swathe of the population.”