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QCA to rationalise vocational qualifications


A major reform of the vocational qualifications system is on its way, with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) being given a key responsibility to undertake a review of the variety of qualifications currently on offer.

The review, announced in last week's government White Paper, is part of the government's plan to create 'a ladder of vocational opportunity' for young people which is easier for employers and prospective students to understand. The government is keen to look at increasing the amount of time made available to study for vocational qualifications at compulsory school-age, in part through the introduction of new vocational GCSEs we reported on in January, which will help feed into Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeship programmes.

For post-16 education, the QCA is to look at all current vocational study programmes leading to qualifications to establish a clear route for study up to NVQ level 3 (A level equivalent), in order that it can make recommendations about the combinations of vocational and non-vocational courses suitable for young people attending publicly funded study programmes, to ensure they develop a mix of job-specific and generic skills for work. The government says it intends for the vocational study route to be as clear as the route for academic study at present. The QCA has also been asked to look at rationalising the (admittedly confusing) number of ICT courses on offer by 80 per cent, with a view to developing a framework for all ICT qualifications currently on offer by mapping them against existing career paths. Once the rationalisation has taken place, the government wants to introduce new specialist technology courses, some of which will be developed by the new Technology Institutes also announced in the White Paper.

The QCA will publish the results of its review this autumn.


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