Qualifications update: January 2020

Our aim is to ensure that we offer qualifications that meet the current and future needs of most students, and teachers. As an education charity, we also have to ensure we use our resources most effectively. So, we regularly review our qualifications to ensure they meet these needs, and sometimes can’t justify continuing to invest in those that don’t.

After our recent review, we’ve made the difficult decision that we’ll no longer be offering some of our AS qualifications, all of our Tech-level qualifications and our Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education (PSE).

Our plans for Tech-levels, Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education and some of our AS qualifications

The full list of qualifications that we will no longer be offering, and the reasons behind this difficult decision are as follows:

Tech-levels we’ll no longer be offering

  • Business: Marketing (TVQ01020; TVQ01021)
  • Engineering: Design (TVQ01018; TVQ01019)
  • Engineering: Mechatronics (TVQ01016; TVQ01019)
  • IT: Cyber Security (TVQ01010; TVQ01009)
  • IT: Networking (TVQ01011; TVQ01014)
  • IT: Programming (TVQ01013; TVQ01015)
  • IT: User Support (TVQ01012; TVQ01014)
  • Video Games (TVQ01022; TVQ01023; TVQ01024; TVQ01025)

The last time schools can enter for our Tech-levels will be summer 2020. June 2021 will be the final internally assessed unit certification opportunity, and January 2022 will be the last external exam resit and certification opportunity.

Awards and Certificates we’ll no longer be offering

  • Personal and Social Education (5800)

The last time schools can enter for our Award and Certificate for Personal and Social Education will be summer 2020. The last opportunity for additional unit entry will be summer 2021.

AS qualifications we’ll no longer be offering

  • AS Accounting (7126)
  • AS Art and Design (7241–7246)
  • AS Design and Technology (7561 and 7551)
  • AS Dance (7236)
  • AS Drama and Theatre (7261)
  • AS English Language and Literature (7706)
  • AS Environmental Science (7446)
  • AS Law (7161)
  • AS Media Studies (7571)
  • AS Music (7271)
  • AS Philosophy (7171)
  • AS Physical Education (7581)
  • AS Politics (7151)

The last time schools can enter for our AS qualifications will be summer 2021. This will also be the final resit opportunity.

Why we made this decision

We appreciate that this may come as a disappointment and want to explain the reasons behind this difficult decision, which was considered very carefully.

Tech-levels

We introduced our Tech-levels in 2015 to see whether there was an appetite for them amongst students, schools and colleges. Despite all the support we’ve received from some schools and colleges, take-up has been much lower than we’d hoped, with an average of just 59 students entered per qualification.

Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education (PSE)

We’ve seen a long-term decline in entries since they stopped counting towards performance table points in 2013, with a significant drop of over 30% since 2016. Even though the Department for Education (DfE) has since made aspects of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education compulsory from September 2020, for us to make sure our qualification is relevant to the curriculum, the current specification would need to be redeveloped.

After careful consideration, we’ve decided that there’s insufficient demand to justify redeveloping this specification, as we already offer a suitable alternative to this in our Unit Award Scheme which has units relevant to PSHE.

Some AS qualifications

Although we redeveloped our AS qualifications under the latest round of reforms, we’ve seen a growing trend for schools and colleges to opt for the two-year A-level, and our AS entries for these specific subjects have been low and declining since we first offered them. As a result, entry numbers in some these AS qualifications have fallen by more than 75% between 2018 and 2019.

The low and declining entries across all of these qualifications suggest we’re no longer meeting the needs of students, and they also make it more challenging for us to deliver these qualifications with confidence. While we work hard to overcome those challenges every year so that students get the results they deserve, the additional resource needed is disproportionate to the number of students.

We will continue to offer all of our A-levels and, at this point in time, our research shows that all of our other AS qualifications are still meeting the needs of many teachers and students, so they aren’t affected by this decision.

Support to schools and colleges

We will of course continue to provide schools and colleges with any support they need for their students to complete these qualifications while they’re still available.

If you have any questions, would like further support or to talk about alternative qualifications, please contact us and our teams will be happy to help.