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Schools: Standards

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL13319, tabled on 31 January 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 17 January (HL Deb, col 323), what specialist advice was taken in determining the “over 3,000 useless subjects”; what criteria were used in making that determination; and whether they will publish a full list of the “3000 useless subjects”.

Answered on

8 February 2019

Following a recommendation in Professor Alison Wolf’s review of technical education in 2011, the department has made improvements to school performance tables to ensure that they only recognise qualifications that meet stretching quality requirements. As a result, the number of non-GCSE qualifications included in performance tables for 14 to 16 year olds fell from 3,175 in the 2014 tables to 75 in the 2020 tables.

The department assesses qualifications submitted by awarding organisations against published criteria, including requirements for mandatory external assessment and support from employers or from higher education providers. As part of this process, the department seeks advice from independent and expert education advisors when deciding on whether to approve qualifications for inclusion in the technical and applied qualifications performance table lists.

The department publishes the list of those qualifications included in performance tables on an annual basis. The performance table list for 2020, attached, can also be accessed at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/key-stage-4-qualifications-discount-codes-and-point-scores.

The department’s section 96 list, which is attached, shows all of the qualifications that are approved for teaching to particular age groups and eligible for funding. This list, which can be found on the department’s website at the following link: https://section96.education.gov.uk/, is a wider list than the list of qualifications included in performance tables as it shows there are 5,338 qualifications approved for funding for 14 to 16 year olds.