Now that the SEND reforms are fully operational, we feel it is the ideal time to review our suite of Entry level qualifications.
During the review we have listened to our providers, both through focus groups and individual conversations to understand what is liked about our qualifications and what needs improving.
We will have our suite of new, updated and improved Entry level qualifications available for delivery from September 2019 and our intention is to have all of the new and revised material available by the end of March 2019.
The main focus of the review has been on improving our existing qualifications. Our Personal and Social Skills qualifications and our Preparation for Employment qualifications will have a number of new units added to them, including units in keeping safe online, directing support in the workplace and looking after your own mental health. The largest change to the suite of qualifications is an adjustment of the learning outcomes in the units to make sure that the main focus of the assessment is on skills rather than knowledge. We have also updated some of the content of the units to reflect current issues of importance to learners working at this level.
The only new qualifications that we are developing are Personal and Social Skills qualifications at Entry 1. Previously these qualifications began at Entry 2, with Entry 1 covered by Personal Progress. The additional Entry 1 qualifications will provide a much-needed stepping stone between Personal Progress and Entry 2 Personal and Social Skills.
We remain convinced that there is no need for new qualifications and/or units in specific vocational sectors at Entry 1 and Entry 2. One of the reasons for this is that it is extremely difficult to specify vocationally-specific content at these levels in a meaningful way. You can end up stating that learners will perform tasks with a great deal of support, when we should be focused on what they can do independently. We recommend that you use a Preparation for Employment qualification and contextualise the learning e.g. you could use the new units we’ve added in completing workplace tasks and using tools and equipment in the workplace in a way that is relevant to the particular vocational sector of interest.
We will be seeking to ensure that these qualifications attract adult skills funding and will let you know when we have confirmation that this is the case.
Whilst the existing qualifications will remain available for a further year, our advice is to move to the new versions for a September 2019 start if you can. The changes to the qualifications are not huge: all qualification titles will remain the same and the sizes have not altered; but they will ensure that you have a wider choice of units and should find that we have removed some of the assessment barriers with our increased focus on skills over knowledge.
Our Qualification Development Consultant, Ruth Perry explains more about the review and the changes that we are making in our on demand webinar, Changes to Entry Level Qualifications.