Pearson response to DfE provisional list of qualifications to have 16-19 funding withdrawn, which overlap with waves 1 and 2 T Levels

Last updated 13 May 2022.

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DfE publish provisional list of qualifications that will no longer be funded for 16-19 learners in England, from 2024/2025 

On 11 May 2022, the DfE published the provisional list of qualifications that will no longer be funded from academic year 2024/2025 for 16-19 learners in England. Of the 160 qualifications identified, 41 are Pearson qualifications. 

Please be reassured that the vast majority of BTEC Nationals are not on the list. As you may be aware, the government recently confirmed that “many applied general qualifications, such as BTECs and other similar qualifications, will have a continuing and important role to play alongside A-levels and T-levels” and that their “aim is to ensure that students can choose from a variety of high-quality options, of which A-levels, T-levels, BTECs and other applied general-style qualifications will all play their part.” 

Which qualifications are impacted? 

Of the 41 Pearson qualifications on the provisional list for defunding for 16-19 study programmes, 27 are BTEC National qualifications.  Over half of the qualifications on this list are: 

  • Being withdrawn as part of our usual cycle of updating and renewing our products.
  • Are designed primarily for apprenticeships learners (which means they will not be affected by this process).  

What are the next steps? 

We will be appealing several important qualifications on the list, which we do not believe meet the published criteria. They are valued by 16-19 learners, colleges, universities, and employers and are not replaced by T Levels. The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Health and Social Care is one example, which supports learners into higher education and is not replaced by the T Level.  Nearly 1 in 5 candidates accepted by nursing degree programmes in 2017 had taken the BTEC Nationals in Health and Social Care, putting the qualifications on par with A levels as a route into these programmes (according to UCAS and HESA data).

When will further information be available? 

We aim to share further details about what this list will mean for your provision in the week starting 16 May 2022. We will also share the outcomes of any appeals as soon as these are available in September 2022. 

When will any changes be made? 

You can continue to register onto all qualifications on the list for the academic years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, with the confidence that: 

  • There is no impact on performance table measures. 
  • Learners who are currently on these qualifications will be able to complete them. 

You can continue to register onto qualifications in these Wave 1 and 2 sectors that are not on the list in 2022/2023, 2023/2024, and 2024/2025 (Digital, Construction, Education & Childcare, Health & Health Science, and Science). 

Please be confident that BTECs will continue to play a role in the Level 3 landscape in the future, and that policy makers will not lose sight of what is working well already - namely existing high-quality qualifications that are respected by learners, universities, and employers alike, be they BTECs or other vocational qualifications. We have always maintained that we need very clear and strong evidence before funding is withdrawn from qualifications, so as not to limit choice and opportunity for young people. We will continue to work to develop high quality qualifications that meet the emerging DfE and IfATE Level 3 criteria and serve the needs of employers and learners.

Yesterday (11th May) the DfE published their provisional list of post-16/Level 3 qualifications that will not be funded for new enrolments from 1st of August 2024 in England only.

Pearson's media response is below and more detailed communications to schools and colleges will follow shortly.

Freya Thomas Monk, SVP Vocational Qualifications & Training at Pearson, said:  

"The DfE has made it clear that BTECs and other Applied Generals will continue to be an important part of the Level 3 qualifications landscape in the future. 
"Of the 41 Pearson qualifications which meet the published criteria for defunding, over half of the qualifications are being withdrawn as part of our usual cycle of updating and renewing our products, or are designed primarily for apprenticeships learners, which means they will not be affected by this process. 
"We will be appealing a number of important qualifications on the list, such as the Level 3 BTEC in Health and Social Care, which we don’t believe meet the published criteria.  They are valued by 16-19 learners, colleges, universities and employers and are not replaced by T Levels.    
"We will be writing to our customers shortly with what this announcement means for them and their learners. Schools and colleges should be reassured that they can continue to teach the vast majority of our BTEC qualifications into the future."

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