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DfE CONSULTATION: Have your say on the funding of Level 3 and below qualifications

Have your say on the future of entry level to level 3 qualifications (deadline 10 June 2019)

On 19 March, the government launched a consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at entry level to level 3 in England.

The Department for Education asks key stakeholders for their thoughts on:  

  • only providing public funding for qualifications that meet key criteria on quality, purpose, necessity and progression.
  • not providing public funding for qualifications for 16 to 19 year olds that overlap with T Levels or A levels.

Qualifications in the scope the qualifications in the consultation are as follows:

Qualifications covered by the review and their funding routes
Young people aged 16 to 19 ESFA list of qualifications approved for funding 16 to 19
  • 14 to 16 year olds
  • 16 to 19 year olds, or
  • both
Adults Adult Education Budget
  • Qualifications are available for adults aged 19+ from entry level to level 3.
  • Qualifications are either fully funded or co-funded (c50% government contribution) depending upon a student’s age, prior attainment and circumstances.
  • All level 3 qualifications funded under the AEB are also on the 16 to 19 funded qualifications list.
Advanced Learner Loans 19 to 23 year olds
  • Taking a second level 3 qualification.
24 year olds and over
  • Taking a level 3 qualification.
Majority of a level 3 qualifications on the loans list are also on the 16 to 19 funded qualifications list.
Apprentices Apprenticeship Standard (if mandated in the standard)
  • All ages


It is important that stakeholders take the opportunity to respond to the consultation to ensure that England’s diverse learner communities and labour market are not adversely affected by the removal of public funding to valued and successful qualifications.  The effect on e.g. niche and specialist sectors, life skills and special education should also be considered.

The consultation document includes a section entitled: "Making T-levels and A-levels the options of choice for students undertaking level 3 classroom-based education."  T'levels cover a specific sector occupation and are equivalent in size to 3 A-levels.  (It is not yet known if T-Levels will attract UCAS points.)  Will this binary qualification choice, which removes the flexibility to mix academic and vocational learning, have an adverse effect? Will T-Levels (alongside apprenticeships) be able to accommodate all types of learner who wish to undertake vocational learning?

The consultation closes on Monday 10 June 2019.

Please send any queries via email to

Click here to take part in the consultation.