BTECs to be scrapped in favour of T-levels
By Sarah Wood
The Government has updated a list of over 200 qualifications to be scrapped as part of the rollout of T-levels.
The qualifications, including BTECs and other post-GCSE courses, were taken by over 50,000 students in England in 2020-21, according to the Government's own data, as reported by the BBC.
But they are being taken away to "streamline further education", the Department for Education (DfE) said.
More than 130 courses which "overlap" with T-level programmes will have their funding removed from next August. That is despite more than 39,500 students being enrolled on these courses in 2020-21.
Another 85 courses will see their funding withdrawn from August 2025. The same data showed there were 17,500 enrolments on these courses.
Some of the courses set to be scrapped (with the number of enrolments in brackets) include:
• NCFE CACHE Technical Level 3 certificate in health and social care (4,010)
• Pearson BTEC Level 3 extended diploma in IT (4,840)
• NCFE CACHE Technical Level 3 diploma in childcare and education (4,070)
• Pearson BTEC Level 3 national foundation diploma in engineering (3,790)
First launched in 2020, a T-level is a vocational qualification, roughly equivalent to three A-levels.
They are aimed at 16 to 19-year-olds and focus on a particular area of employment, like education, construction or healthcare, and include 45 days of industry placement.
Some students currently studying for BTEC courses which won't be available to new students from next year worry that their courses won't be recognised as highly in future as T-levels.
And some college principals are concerned that take-up of T-levels so far has been too slow to fill the gap which will be left by the discontinued courses.
Some have also said that scrapping BTECs could be damaging to students and that T-levels aren't suitable for everyone.
While there are no national entry requirements for T-levels, the high standard of assessment means most colleges require good GCSE grades to get on to a course.
This has left some principals worrying about a lack of options for those who don't achieve those grades, once alternative qualifications are taken away.
Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, said T-levels were a "robust" qualification, which support the Government's goal of future-proofing education.
He added that most of the 85 courses to be defunded from 2025 had less than 100 enrolments in 2020-21 and that removing funding from these qualifications will ensure anyone taking a technical course in future can be confident they will be getting "a qualification respected by employers".
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