The Skills Funding Agency recently undertook a review of the maths and English QCF qualifications for adult learners in England. They announced the outcome in a statement. View statement.
What are the implications?
This will affect our English/Mathematics Skills (3847) and Principles of English/Mathematics (3844) qualifications. We’re still clarifying the full implications of this announcement with the Agency, although we understand them to be:
‘Themed’ English/Mathematics Skills Awards (3847-03 and 3847-23)
The Entry 1-3 and Level 1 themed Awards will remain eligible for adult funding under the new rules, although in each case City & Guilds will need to apply for this, providing letters of support from at least five centres with a current Skills Funding Agency contract and at least 50 publicly-funded adult learners intending to take each of these qualifications during 2014-15. We are hoping to clarify these arrangements with the Agency over the next few days, including what information is required in any letters of support and their timescales for approval.
The Level 2 themed Awards will not be eligible for adult funding under the new rules, since they are less than 13 credits in size and are currently portfolio-assessed.
We have no plans to withdraw these qualifications (at least not those at Entry 1-3 and Level 1), since we recognise that they are widely used and valued by learners, centres and employers.
Single-unit English/Mathematics Skills Awards (3847-01 and 3847-21)
Most of these qualifications are less than 3 credits in size, so therefore will not be eligible for adult funding under the new business rules. In addition, the Level 2 qualifications will be ineligible as they are currently portfolio-assessed.
Again, we’re not planning to withdraw these qualifications (at least not those at Entry 1-3 and Level 1).
It is worth also noting that individual units, as distinct from the unit qualifications, will remain fundable for certain categories of adult learner.
English/Mathematics Skills Certificates (3847-02, 3847-23, 3847-92 and 3847-93)
The Entry 1-3 and Level 1 Certificates will remain eligible for adult funding under the new rules, although again City & Guilds will need to submit applications and letters of support in each case.
The Level 2 Certificates will not be eligible for adult funding under the new rules, since they are currently portfolio-assessed. We are exploring whether it would be feasible to re-develop these qualifications with a different assessment model, although we would want to so in a way that the underlying purpose and flexible nature of these qualifications is not lost.
Principles of Using Written and Spoken English (3844-10, 3844-11 and 3844-21)
The Entry 1-3 and Level 1 Awards will remain eligible for adult funding under the new rules, although again City & Guilds will need to submit applications and letters of support in each case.
The Level 2 Award will not be eligible for funding under the new rules, since it is less than 13 credits in size. We’re currently exploring whether we could develop a larger-sized qualification – eg with additional unit(s) covering aspects of speaking and productive writing.
Principles of Using Mathematical Techniques (3844-12, 3844-20 and 3844-22)
All of these qualifications will remain eligible remain eligible for adult funding under the new rules, although again City & Guilds will need to submit applications and letters of support in each case.
Please note the announcement has no bearing on the use of these qualifications in pre-19 provision funded via the Education Funding Agency. All of these qualifications remain approved by the Department for Education (DfE) under Section 96 for use in 14-16 and 16-18 provision.
How is City & Guilds responding?
We are disappointed by the timing of this announcement, given that it comes less than two months before the beginning of the new funding year and after many organisations have already planned their maths and English provision for 2014-15. We are reflecting this back to the Agency.
Rest assured we are committed to offering these qualifications as we recognise their importance and value in building learners’ confidence and enabling them to make progress. Where required, we will work with the Agency to complete the necessary paperwork so that as many of these qualifications as possible remain fundable for adult learners.
We will issue a further update soon, once we discussed the implications of this announcement more fully with the Agency and have further detail of their approval arrangements.
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