Government to shelve funding for low intake courses to help pupils

2020-02-18

The government has unveiled plans to withdraw funding for courses with low or no enrolments in a bid to streamline the qualifications on offer at secondary and further education level.


It means more than 5,000 qualifications could be cut, as each is currently studied by less than 100 students annually, education secretary Gavin Williamson has said.


According to the government, the proposals should make it easier for pupils to select qualifications that are right for them to help them land in demand job roles, as there are often multiple qualifications in the same subject areas.


Currently, there are around 12,000 qualifications on offer at Level 3 and below, which includes both A-level and GCSE offerings.


The move also aligns with the government’s priority to transform further education with the introduction of T-levels, a set of technical courses for young people.


Mr Williamson said the choice available to students can be overwhelming and that removing funding for courses with low pupil uptake should provide “a clearer choice”.


“Trying to decide what course will put you on the path to a great career is hard enough, but with over 12,000 qualifications available and many in the same subject – it can feel like a needle in a haystack,” he explained.


Efforts to simplify the qualification landscape are ongoing and the latest announcement was welcomed by David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges.


He said the approach also appears to protect highly-valued but low enrolment qualifications which provide much needed skills for the economy.


The government has said it wants to ensure that all courses are of high-quality and that they can help boost employment opportunities or encourage pupils into further studies.


Ministers are also set to ask for views from within the education sector as to whether any of the qualifications where funding will be cut should be continued from August 2021.


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