New technical guidance from DfE for vocational qualifications

Wed Jun 18 14:55:00 UTC 2014

New guidance from the DfE outlines the characteristics that vocational qualifications must meet to be considered for the 2017 and 2018 performance tables.  

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On 18 June 2014, the Department for Education published the following documents:

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These two documents define the characteristics that vocational qualifications must meet if they are to be eligible for consideration for the 2017 and 2018 performance tables. Qualifications meeting these characteristics will be included in the lists of high quality vocational qualifications that are published each autumn. The list of approved qualifications for the 2017 performance tables is scheduled for publication in autumn 2014.

Key headlines from the guidance for 14- to 16-year-olds

  • From the 2017 performance tables onwards, vocational qualifications for 14- to 16-year olds will be reclassified as Technical Awards. This will apply to all qualifications on the 2017 list, not just new qualifications submitted for the first time. For example, the current next generation BTEC Firsts will be eligible for consideration for the 2017 lists.
  • From the 2017 performance tables onwards, non-GCSE qualifications that have a significant overlap in content with any EBacc GCSEs will not be included. BTEC Applied Science qualifications come into this category. This means that Year 10 learners starting their course in September 2014 will be the last group whose BTEC Applied Science qualifications will contribute to performance tables. We understand that many centres will wish to continue to offer BTECs in Applied Science, however, if you operate a three-year KS4 programme, BTEC Applied Science results will not count in performance tables for the Year 9 cohort starting in September 2014.
  • We realise that this change has come at quite short notice and appreciate the challenges it may present to you. Our team of experts is available to answer any questions you may have.
  • BTEC Firsts in Information and Creative Technology will still be eligible for consideration for performance tables from 2017.
  • Any new qualifications submitted for consideration for the 2017 list will be required to include a minimum of 25% external assessment. For the 2018 lists, this figure will be a minimum of 40%. Please note this does not apply to qualifications already on the 2016 list, so existing next generation BTEC Firsts on this list will be eligible for the 2017 and 2018 lists in their current form (excluding Applied Science). 

Key headlines from the guidance for 16- to 19-year-olds

  • From 2017 onwards, a new category of vocational qualification will be reported in performance tables as Substantial Level 2 qualifications. This is in addition to the Applied General and Tech Level qualifications which will first be reported in 2016 tables.
  • Substantial Level 2 qualifications are defined as those that equip students with specialist knowledge and skills, enabling entry to an Apprenticeship, employment or progression to a Tech Level. They will need to demonstrate endorsement from employers to be eligible and be at least 150 GLH in size.
  • Any new qualifications submitted for consideration for the 2017 and 2018 lists will be required to contain a minimum amount of external assessment, as follows:

            Substantial Level 2 qualifications: 25% external assessment
            Technical Level qualifications (level 3): 30% external assessment
            Applied General qualifications (level 3): 40% external assessment.

  • This does not apply to existing qualifications on the 2016 list that will be carried forward for consideration for the 2017 list, including many of the current suite of BTEC Nationals.

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