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This conference focused on the next steps for qualifications at level 2 and below.
It was an opportunity to discuss the way forward for streamlining and simplifying qualifications at levels 1, 2 and below, and the implications for maintaining pupil attainment - as the Government considers its response to the consultation on the options on offer.
Delegates assessed the proposed changes and the prospects for delivering the policy ambition of a system that offers:
- clear choices for prospective students
- qualifications with a distinct purpose
- high quality
- clear post-qualification progression routes
The discussion took place in the context of the results of the 2022 exam season at level 2 and below, with over 75% of students achieving grade 4 or above in English in Maths.
Overall, areas of discussion included:
- regulation - priorities for qualification at levels 1, 2 and below - supporting the instilment of quality and improvement in standards
- design - the future shape of qualifications post-consultation - achieving quality and standards goals - the future approval process and concerns over possible exclusion of smaller qualifications
- choice - providing engaging options and qualifications with distinct purpose
- careers guidance - the proposed simplified system and its potential impact - raising awareness - providing clarity for students on the qualifications available to them
- progression - future pathways post-qualification - level 3 and beyond - employment or apprenticeship
- employment - alignment of qualifications with labour market needs - the developing skills landscape - upskilling and mature learners - future role of employers and encouraging their collaboration
- implementation - continuity of provision for students already studying - ensuring that providers are not overwhelmed as post COVID-19 recovery continues and with reform at level 3
We are pleased to have been able to include a keynote session on policy priorities moving forward with Helen Kemplay, Joint Head of the Post-16 Qualification Review Unit, Department for Education; and further contributions from Jane Hickie, Chief Executive, Association of Employment and Learning Providers; Naomi Phillips, Deputy CEO, Learning and Work Institute; and Bethany Hughes, Senior Manager, Vocational and Technical Qualifications Strategic Relationships, Ofqual.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the DfE; DIT; DWP; IfATE; Social Mobility Commission; and Tertiary Education Reform.