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Crack down on low quality qualifications such as floristry and horse management as Government axes their funding

Camilla Turner
Ministers have launched a crack down on low quality qualifications such as floristry - 2018 Getty Images

Ministers have launched a crack down on low quality qualifications such as floristry, horse management and networking as the Government axes their funding.

The Department for Education (DfE) has banned any new vocational qualifications from receiving funding from next year onwards, as part of a drive to boost the profile and prestige of alternatives to A-levels.

Officials have drawn up a list of 163 “lower quality” BTECs, Tech Levels and their equivalents which will no longer be eligible for state funding. 

These include a City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Floristry, a City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management and an AQA Level 3 Technical Level IT in Networking.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, said that the 163 qualifications have had their funding pulled in order to encourage students to take other higher quality qualifications. 

The head of Ofsted has also warned that further education colleges are giving students “false hope” by offering courses in fields where they have no prospect of employment.

Amanda Spielman suggested that colleges, which provide largely vocational courses for 16 to 18 year-olds, are putting the “financial imperative of headcount” ahead of the what is best for young people.

The Government is launching the biggest overhaul of post-16 education in 70 years, as part of a multi-billion pound drive to improve technical training.

The new qualifications, which will see the courses dubbed “T-levels” - the technical version of A-levels - are due to be piloted from 2020. Mr Hinds has previously accused Britain of becoming a nation of “snobs” who think university is the only way to get a good job.

He said: “We want young people to be confident that whatever option they choose after their GCSEs will be high-quality, valued by employers and will lead to a good, well-paid job.

“This is at the heart of everything we are doing to reform technical and vocational education in this country.

“I have previously said you cannot legislate for parity of esteem between technical and academic education - you’ve got to ensure high standards, then the esteem will come. Our unrelenting focus on improving the quality of the qualifications available is key to this.

“The current system is confusing and complicated, with more than 12,000 qualifications available at Level 3 and below.