From education to employment

Have your say on level 2 and below study to help more people progress

Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister

@EducationGovUK seeks views on how to boost study at level 2 and below so more students progress into jobs or further study 

call for evidence seeking views on how to ensure post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below – excluding GCSEs – can support more people to progress into further study or employment, has been launched today (10 November) by Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan.

New figures reveal that many students who leave education with a level 2 qualification do not progress onto further study and can find it harder to get a job

This action builds on the work already underway to transform technical and vocational education, boost productivity and support the economy to recover after the pandemic

Qualifications at level 2 (GCSE equivalent) and below can be the springboard that supports large numbers of young people and adults to access higher levels of study, unlock employment opportunities, re-engage in education and secure English, maths and digital skills.

However, new analysis published by the Department for Education has revealed that 60% of 16 year olds who study a classroom based level 2 course do not move on to study at level 3 (A Level or T Level equivalent) the following year.

It also highlights that 37% of students who leave education with a level 2 qualification find it harder to get a job, compared to 14% of students who leave with a level 3 qualification.

Making sure everyone can access high quality qualifications that give them the skills they need to secure a good job and that provide employers with the skilled workforce they and the economy need to build back better from coronavirus, is priority for the government.

The call for evidence builds on the action already underway to overhaul the post-16 landscape so all students, no matter where they live and whatever qualification they choose, they know it will set them on the path to success. 

Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister said:

“We are overhauling the post-16 system to make sure it delivers for everyone. We are already taking action to make sure qualifications at level 3 are fit for purpose, but for too long courses at level 2 and below have been overlooked and undervalued, so we want to fix that. 

“We want all students to be confident that whatever option they choose will be high quality, valued by employers and will lead to further study or a great job. I encourage everyone from students to employers of all sizes to share their views so we can transform further education in this country.”

In October the government set out detailed measures aimed at making sure that whatever course a student takes at level 3 and below they can be confident it will be fit for purpose and lead to good outcomes. This includes removing funding from qualifications that overlap with T Levels and A levels, and only funding qualifications that are high quality and lead to good outcomes for students.

Work is already underway to overhaul technical and vocational education in this country, including the roll out of new T Levels, working with employers to create more high quality apprenticeship opportunities, establishing a system of higher technical education and a network of Institutes of Technology, backed by up to £290 million.

The government will shortly publish its ambitious FE White Paper which will set out plans to build on and strengthen the excellent work that is already happening across the country to unlock potential and level up skills and boosts opportunities for more people.

Qualifications at level 2 and below include those giving a broad introduction to a vocational area; specific skills to access specific employment; or transferrable skills.

The call for evidence is aimed at anyone with an interest in post-16 level 2 and below education including providers, employers and professional representative bodies. The call for evidence will run until 31 January 2021.

Classroom-based study refers to all provision that is not apprenticeships, traineeships or other work-based study. Training could be delivered in a classroom-based setting through a mixture of activities e.g. in the classroom, workshops, simulated working environments and if appropriate online or in supervised working environments. Where qualifications are included in apprenticeships and traineeships, they are in scope of the review.


Review of post-16 qualifications at level 3: second stage

This consultation closes at

Consultation description

This consultation is the second stage of the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below in England. It focuses on level 3 qualifications and seeks views on our proposals for the groups of qualifications that would continue to be funded alongside A levels and T Levels.

The review’s aim is:

  • clearer qualifications choices for young people and adults
  • to ensure that every qualification approved for public funding has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes for students

Alongside this consultation, you can also read:

Published 23 October 2020
Last updated 10 November 2020 + show all updates

  1. Added link to the first stage consultation response and the post-16 study at level 2 and below call for evidence.

  2. First published.

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