News Release
19th February 2019

Does it matter if you deliver ‘unreformed’ qualifications?

Many FE Colleges are continuing to deliver Level-3 qualifications that fall outside of the DfE Headline Measures – those that the DfE classify as being ‘unreformed’.

But so what? Isn’t the FE sector simply delivering the qualifications that students want?

One of the many strategic aims of the Headline Measures is to rationalise the proliferation of qualifications and to strengthen those that remain. In the words of Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, talking about our vocational, technical routes to employment “For many, the route is not clear, the expectations are not high enough and the links to a skilled job are too weak.”

The DfE has recently announced (in the latest T Level Action Plan) two consultations on the Principles and Funding for future Level-3 qualifications. The timescale for the DfE’s second consultation on the funding is scheduled for later this year. Clearly, the writing is on the wall that the funding for many ‘unreformed’ qualifications will disappear.

So what if you continue to deliver ‘unreformed’ qualifications? We think there are three main risks:

Firstly, none of the ‘unreformed’ qualification are contributing to the Headline Performance tables for your college (however good they may be);

Secondly, continuing to deliver ‘unreformed’ quals could have a very real impact on your financial health – especially if you defer replacing them with the newer reformed qualifications (for example, T Levels);

Finally, the lack of any national grade profile data for ‘unreformed’ qualifications, means that it more difficult for a college to effectively manage its quality and performance in these programmes.

We would urge all further education establishments to urgently review the qualifications they deliver. Not just because it will affect your income, not just because it will affect your published performance and perhaps not even because it will affect your ability to manage your quality – and ultimately, your reputation. What educational institution would wish to send its students out into a world where the value of the qualification they have achieved is open to questions about its quality?

For those colleges that use eTrackr, we have devised a range of systems to enable you to improve and scrutinise the quality and performance of ‘reformed’ qualifications.