Funding axed for more than 160 level 3 qualifications

The government will slash funding for 163 level 3 courses in a crackdown on 'poor-quality' post-16 qualifications

What will the government spending review mean for FE?

More than 160 qualifications at level 3 and below will no longer receive funding from August 2020, education secretary Damian Hinds has announced today.

The list includes 76 BTECs and is part a government bid to quell any "poor-quality post-16 qualifications". 

The decision follows the first of a two-part Department for Education consultation over the future of vocational qualifications at level 3 and below. 


Background:  DfE launches crackdown on post-16 courses

Read more:  Will T levels draw a line in the sand under BTECs?

Long read:  Applied Generals in a battle to survive


The government will also stop any new qualifications at level 3 and below from getting approval for funding from 2020, to "avoid adding to the already confusing and complicated system of over 12,000 qualifications already available at these levels."

The 163 qualifications scrapped today were all labelled "duplicate qualifications" – meaning they overlapped with A levels, apprenticeships and the new T levels, which are seen as the "gold standard" by the government. 

Mr Hinds said: “Our unrelenting focus on improving the quality of the qualifications available is key to this. The current system is confusing and complicated, with more than 12,000 qualifications available at level 3 and below. We are reviewing qualifications to boost the quality of the options out there so more students and parents will trust them." 

A spokesperson for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said: “It’s interesting that the cull has started before the consultation outcome is known. While duplication may seem a valid reason for funding removal, we hope that the government is being careful over this. This applies for example to determining the overlap between current qualifications and T levels as the latter may not be suitable for all occupations.  

"T levels are not appropriate in all learner circumstances, and the notion that they are ‘gold standard’ compared to other long-established qualifications should not result in the automatic dismissal of anything that is not a T level or equivalent to three A Levels."

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association said that the announcement is no great surprise. 

"The real battle is to ensure reformed applied general qualifications sit alongside A levels and T levels in the future qualifications landscape. Decisions about reformed AGQs should be made in an open and transparent way through the government's consultation," he said. 

The full list of cut qualifications

  • OCR Level 3 Principal Learning in Engineering
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Floristry
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Applied Science (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Business (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Business (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Business (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Sport (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Performing Arts (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Art and Design (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Art and Design (QCF)
  • VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Law (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Music (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering  (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Agriculture (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Animal Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Animal Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Countryside Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horticulture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Agriculture 
  • City & Guilds  Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Countryside Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Countryside Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horse Management
  • City & GuildsLevel 3 Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology 
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Barbering 
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in IT (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in IT (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horse Management (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Travel and Tourism (QCF)
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision
  • UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design 
  • UAL Level 3 Diploma in Art & Design 
  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma In Criminology
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in IT (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Business (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Sport (QCF)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Business
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Business
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Business
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in IT
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Business
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in IT
  • WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Business
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in IT
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing Studies
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures) 
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Applied Science (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 90-Credit Diploma in Agriculture
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Media
  • City & Guilds Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Animal Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Countryside Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Horse Management
  • City & Guilds Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Horticulture
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Sport
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Sport
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Media
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Health and Social Care (QCF)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Media
  • RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma for Music Practitioners
  • VTCT (ITEC) Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing
  • IMI Level 3 Diploma in Land-Based Technology (VRQ)
  • CISI Level 3 Diploma In Finance, Risk and Investment 
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Bench Joinery 
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Painting and Decorating 
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing Studies
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering Studies
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies
  • EAL Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation 
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in Performing Arts
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Performing Arts
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma in Performing Arts
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma in Performing Arts
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Horse Management (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma In Plastering
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Horticulture (QCF)
  • NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Educator)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Children's Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator) (VRQ)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Children's Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator) (VRQ)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma for the Early Years Practitioner (Early Years Educator) (540)
  • VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Sports Studies
  • VTCT Level 3 Introductory Diploma in Sports Studies
  • VTCT Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Sports Studies
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level Engineering: Power Network Engineering (VRQ)
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level Engineering: Design Engineering (VRQ)
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level Engineering: Mechatronic Engineering (VRQ)
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level IT: Networking (VRQ)
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level IT: User Support (VRQ)
  • AQA Level 3 Technical Level IT: Programming (VRQ)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Horticulture (QCF)
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management
  • City & Guilds  Level 3 Extended Diploma in Land-based Technology
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Performing Arts (QCF)
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Certificate in IT
  • OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in IT
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Principal Learning in Construction and the Built Environment
  • RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma For Music Practitioners
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (QCF)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Animal Management (QCF)
  • VTCT Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Studies

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