More than 5,000 post-GCSE qualifications with a low student intake are to lose funding, as the Department for Education readies itself to release new T-level courses in September of this year. This amounts to 40% of the 12,000 post-16 qualifications that are currently available in England.

T-level courses are qualifications that can be taken after GCSEs and are equivalent to three A-levels. The courses have been created in collaboration with businesses, and as such ensure that students will secure the skills that they need to progress in their chosen career path. T-levels will use both classroom learning and practical experience to educate their students, and will be graded using the distinction pass system.

It looks like students will soon be facing three options when they have obtained their GCSE qualifications: pursuing A-levels, T-levels, or apprenticeships, and it is argued that the reduction of courses with low enrolment will allow for funding to go towards more popular courses. However, the head of qualification provider City and Guilds, has remarked that this narrowing down of options will be, “disastrous for social mobility”.

There is additional concern that qualifications that are aimed at pupils with learning or physical difficulties are being cut, as well as a course which is designed to build the confidence of students who struggle with academia.

The City and Guilds chief executive has determined that many students will not be able to immediately make the jump from GCSEs to T-levels. “Removing that vital rung on the skills ladder towards Level 3 and above will be disastrous for social mobility,” she indicated, concluding that, “we urge the government to think carefully before removing this lifeline for people and leaving employers unable to access the skilled workforces they need.” 


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