Study Programmes

Since September 2013, there has been a new post-16 curriculum – 16 to 19 Study Programmes and 16-24 Traineeships  – supported by changes to post-16 funding. All students in full or part-time education aged 16 to 19 will be expected to follow a study programme tailored to their individual needs, education and employment goals of their programme, including students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
In completing their study programmes, students will:
• spend most of their time taking one or more substantial qualifications, such as A levels and/or vocational qualifications; or  participating in a Traineeship or extended work experience
• take part in non-qualification activity, such as work experience, tutorials or work-related learning
• continue studying English and/or mathematics if they did not achieve at least a GCSE grade C in these subjects by the end of Year 11

Substantial qualifications

A levels or substantial vocational qualifications at level 2 or 3 provide most students with the route to their career goals. Study for these qualifications should make up the majority of the study programme time. In most cases, students will take qualifications at a level above their prior attainment. The Department is currently consulting on the standards for level 3 vocational qualifications and which of these will count in performance tables.

Work experience

Work experience will form an integral part of the 16-19 study programmes from September 2013. Schools, colleges and work-based training providers will be expected to offer their students high quality and meaningful work experience as part of their 16-19 study programme to give the student a valuable experience of the work environment and to develop their employability skills. For more information, see our dedicated post-16 work experience and enterprise education web area.

English and mathematics

The English and mathematics requirement of study programmes means that students who have not achieved an A*-C GCSE in these subjects by age 16 will continue to study towards achieving them as a part of their 16 to 19 study programmes. This requirement will be enforced by making the study of English and mathematics a condition of the student place being funded from September 2014.
Where a student does not have a GCSE A*-C, they must take either:
• English and mathematics GCSEs that count towards the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) measure in KS4 performance tables
• Functional skills and free-standing mathematics qualifications registered with Ofqual, as a stepping stone to GCSE study
• English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications registered with Ofqual, as a stepping stone to GCSE study

Standards and accountability

From September 2013, Ofsted has been inspecting study programmes through the common inspection framework. 16 to 19 study programmes must also meet the Department’s interim minimum standards if in a school or college. Private training providers of 16 to 19 study programmes must meet BIS’ minimum levels of performance.
Ministerial working group
The Department has convened a ministerial working group to advise on the implementation of the planned changes to post-16 funding and curriculum. The group brings together representatives of all types of education institution, as well as others including employer representatives with a key interest in the result of the reforms. It aims to ensure that the reforms work in the best interests of all young people, including those on academic or vocational courses.