FAB urges caution over below Level 3 qualifications review

February 13, 2020

In response to the Department for Education’s plans to ‘remove funding for thousands of qualifications with low or no student numbers,’ Tom Bewick, chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies, said:

“Our members will have few concerns with a genuine housekeeping exercise that removes qualifications which are obviously no longer needed by learners and employers. The vocational training marketplace evolves all the time, so there are bound to be obsolete qualifications on the register that will discontinue in future.

“However, we know from past experience, that some really adverse effects can arise where a top-down exercise in Whitehall leads to learners being cut off from valuable and relevant opportunities in their local communities. There are hundreds of niche qualifications with low enrolments or they serve those with special educational needs, that could be axed by this exercise if government does not proceed with some caution.

“We should also remember that adult learning has collapsed in recent years. Over 4 million adults have already been lost to the system, according to the annual participation survey, so government should be mindful of unintended consequences of these reforms. Qualifications below Level 3 provide important confidence building and employability skills. That’s why we need to ensure that there continues to be a significant number of entry-level and intermediate qualifications available for public support in future.”