Westminster Education Forum

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Next steps for qualifications at level 2 and below in England

July 2023

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

This conference discussed next steps for the implementation of reforms to qualifications at level 2 and below.

It took place with:

  • the Government’s response to the consultation on the review of post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below in England, in which the DfE outlined plans to improve standards by reducing the number of funded courses, and better align qualifications with employer-led occupational standards
  • the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education preparing to publish its Big Conversation report in 2023, which will discuss the quality of the skills system and the qualifications that support it

Delegates had the opportunity to assess whether there is sufficient capacity within the current qualifications landscape to effectively implement outlined reforms, and what additional support may be required to ensure that the skills system appropriately prepares students for further education and employment.

There was discussion on best practice in aligning qualifications with national skills priorities and employer benchmarks, better assisting students to navigate the qualifications system, and improving flexibility for individuals with additional needs.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Helen Kemplay, Joint Head of the Post-16 Qualifications Review Unit, Department for Education; Bethany Hughes, Senior Manager VTQ Strategic Relationships, Ofqual; Sam Callear, Deputy Director of Policy and New Concepts, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education; and Karl Anderson, Head of Level 2 and 3 Policy, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Overall, sessions in the agenda focused on:

  • the delivery of qualification reform: implementing consultation proposals - adapting to qualification groups - evaluating funding approval criteria
  • simplifying the skills system: removing funding for existing qualifications - helping learners navigate qualification options - aligning with national skills priorities
  • improving quality of qualifications: introducing pre-vocational qualifications - evaluating best practice in teaching and learning - improving flexibility of study - assessing range and breadth of qualification choices
  • educational outcomes and further progression: assessing appropriate support for students with additional needs - enhancing transparency in student progress - promoting upskilling throughout the workforce
  • aligning studies with the needs of employers: engaging businesses in the reform process - coordinating qualifications with skills shortages - aligning course content with occupational standards

The discussion brought together stakeholders with key policy officials who attended from the DBT; DfE; DfT; DWP; GLD; HMPPS; Ofsted; and the Welsh Government.

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles