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Review of post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below in England – Open Consultation

As part of its skills and qualification reforms, the Department for Education (DfE) is running a consultation about the future of qualifications at Levels 2 and below. DfE is hoping to rationalise UK qualifications into a much simpler format, prioritising its new Apprenticeship and Technical Level (T’Level) programmes.

Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) and below qualifications are hugely important for the land-based sector and this proposal is a radical transformation of what will be funded. The industry is at risk of losing valuable qualifications such as all RHS Qualifications, City and Guilds qualifications and SEG awards. We know that this would significantly impact those hoping to train for a career in horticulture, particularly career changers.

The consultation is for employers as well as educational professionals and it is strongly recommended that time is taken to respond – even if this is only to a few questions. Some sample responses are available in the documents below which you are welcome to use in the survey.

These reforms aim to remove duplication, simplify and reduce the number of qualifications available at level 2 and below.  Some groups of qualifications are not in scope such as GCSEs and functional skills, but all technical qualifications are included.  The Department for Education’s impact assessment report estimates that of level 2 in-scope qualifications, 72% for 16-19 year olds and 57% for adults are likely to be lost.  This includes a very large number of land-based qualifications including those well recognised and valued by employers.  There is a very high risk that ‘simplification’ and ‘removal of duplication’ leads to lack of flexibility, which in the land-based sector is crucial to provide skills to the wide variety of sub sectors and different ways that land based businesses operate. 

The survey is open until 27 April 2022 and can be completed online here:

A response has been written which you are welcome to use as a basis for your own submission. This is available as a Word document or PDF below. The survey is long so model responses have been created for some of the key questions. Open one of the documents available below alongside the survey for all to become clear!

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