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Offering clearer choices for students

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students with a laptop and some papers, in discussion about their work

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at how we are moving to give students clearer and more concise options at post-16, whilst we also respond to a story from the Guardian on claims of primary schools holding holiday revision sessions for Key Stage 1 assessments.

Post-16 qualifications

Today, Thursday 13 February, the department has published a list of more than 5,000 qualifications with low or no enrolments that are in scope for defunding from August 2021. The move is part of the government’s work to review and streamline post-16 qualifications. This has been covered by BBC Online, the Sun, the Times, the Telegraph and the Mail.

In March 2019, we published the first of two consultations outlining proposals to only fund qualifications at Level 3 and below – excluding A Levels and GCSEs – that are high quality, necessary, have a clear purpose, and lead to good outcomes. The consultation included a proposal to withdraw approval for public funding for qualifications which had no enrolments, or low numbers (less than 100) of enrolments. This process will help to ensure we only retain qualifications where there is a clear demand from schools, colleges, employers and students.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

Trying to decide what course will put you on the path to a great career is hard enough, but with over 12,000 qualifications available and many in the same subject – it can feel like a needle in a haystack.

Removing funding for qualifications that have no or low numbers of enrolments will help make sure students have a clearer choice of the qualifications on offer, and ensure they get the skills they need to progress.

Guardian story on out-of-term revision sessions

Today, the Guardian published an article saying that primary schools are holding school holiday revision sessions for pupils as young as six to prepare them for Key Stage 1 assessments, which take place in year 2.

A Department for Education spokesperson:

Pupils in year 2 should not be spending their holidays revising for Key Stage 1 assessments. They are only used so we can understand how primary schools help pupils to progress. They have no bearing on individual pupils other than showing where they may benefit from additional help.

We trust teachers to administer and prepare for these tests in an appropriate way and this does not include encouraging revision during holidays.

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