Our Progression qualifications have been highly valued over many years by centres, so it was with some trepidation that we set about reviewing them earlier this year.

We certainly didn’t want to be fixing anything that wasn’t broken. The Progression qualifications have been used to help some of our most vulnerable learners re-engage with education, find where their talents lie, and take their first steps along a successful career pathway. We were keen that the qualifications should be just as valuable to the next generation of learners, while remaining as easy (if not easier) for centres to use. That has meant checking for outdated content, gaps in coverage, and unnecessary overlaps both within the Progression qualifications themselves and with other qualifications in our portfolio.

Leaner and up-to-date

We undertook some thorough research, looking at data on registrations, certification and unit usage. We also held a consultative webinar with centres and shared proposals with a wide range of current and recent users to get their feedback. Centres were extremely helpful in supporting us to identify the overarching purpose of the Progression suite, which qualifications in terms of size and level were needed and which units should be retained or added in order to meet that purpose.

The result is a leaner, more up-to-date set of qualifications which will enable learners to gain the skills they need to progress to the next stage of their learning or in their personal development journey. The qualifications cover a number of broad skill areas including personal and social development, life skills, employability skills (including English, maths and digital skills), active/responsible citizenship and parenting and family learning skills. The flexible rules of combination have been retained so that teachers can continue to shape programmes to meet the needs of individual or groups of learners, combining units to match their learners’ needs and aspirations.

Refreshed unit bank

The range of optional units is now much more manageable. Units that had fallen out of usage have been removed along with those that duplicated or significantly overlapped with others in the unit bank. We have also removed units that are explicitly vocational, signposting centres instead to our wide-ranging suite of vocational qualifications, either the sector-specific or the vocational taster. We have brought the full suite of bite-sized English and maths units into the Progression unit bank, along with a range of digital skills units. At Entry 3 we have also added a set of practical vocational taster units to support progression onto a sector-specific route. We have updated a significant number of units to reflect new practices and to increase the emphasis on skills over knowledge. In many cases these units have been lifted from more recently developed qualifications allowing for credit transfer between qualifications.

We have also slimmed down the number of qualifications in the Progression suite to reflect demand from centres. We will be withdrawing all level 3 qualifications along with the level 2 diploma from July this year. The last certification date for these qualifications will be July 2021. The Entry 3 Diploma will be replaced by a new 26 credit Entry 3 Extended Certificate, available for first teaching in September this year.

We believe that we have managed to strike the right balance: retaining all those features that have helped establish our Progression qualifications as critical in supporting learner progress and achievement and refreshing them so that they are reflective of the modern world. We look forward to supporting our centres to use the revised qualifications to help set the next generation of learners on the right path.

Revised Qualification Specifications

The recent review of Progression qualifications has resulted in changes to qualification specifications, these changes come into effect from 1st August 2020. Links to the new qualification specifications are available of the individual qualification pages on the website.

Our original announcement about these changes can be found here: Updates to Progression Qualifications 2019 – 2021