News story

Simplifying and streamlining the 2015 to 2016 qualifications offer

Changes are being made to the 2015 to 2016 qualifications approval process in a bid to move towards a more simplified system.


Awarding organisations have been informed that the next planned approvals process, which closes on September 3, will now be the last for the 2015 to 2016 year, for most qualifications.

Changes to the Qualifications Approvals Process 2015 to 2016

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This follows three previous submission processes, which took place in March, May and June.

Those qualifications that will continue to be approved include:

  • qualifications that are automatically approved (see paragraph 51 of the Technical Guide)
  • vocational qualifications at Levels 3 and 4, which will only be approved for 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

The change for the 2015 to 2016 process comes following the publication of the government’s productivity plan, which identifies the important role of a professional and technical education system in increasing productivity. The report also emphasises the need for such a system to have a clear and high-quality set of routes to employment and higher-level skills.

Delivering the vision outlined in the plan is likely to involve a number of changes, which will apply to what is publicly funded in the future. We’re already working on how we can simplify and align the offer for 2016 to 2017, so that there is a coherent and seamless offer for learners aged 19 to 23, and greater flexibility for providers to respond to local priorities. In the autumn, in advance of the 2015 annual review, we will communicate with awarding organisations on any further changes.

The current offer of funded qualifications already covers Entry to Level 4 and all sector subject areas.

If you’re an awarding organisation and have any queries about this change, please email

Published 13 August 2015