Squeezed middle ...

In my role as a national senior examiner I have to keep a wary eye on the changes in funding. Whilst higher education moans considerably, our formula with changes is still less complex and fraught than that faced by our compatriots in post-compulsory education.

For a Higher Education Institution, we can 'develop' our own qualification, whilst there are regulatory hoops and barrels; the process is well known and understood.

Alas for post-compulsory, which includes further education, 6th forms, specialist colleges, community education, university technical colleges and a few assorted others. It is a veritable rats nest of different funding rules based on the whim and wisdom of two different funding bodies and the commercial interests of a variety of awarding bodies.

Many of these poor souls really want to teach X, but find that there is no funding for any specific qualification that sensibly contains X. Over the years, colleagues and I have been successful in embedding X into other packages, often with an element of smoke+mirrors. But those were halcyon times when the system also had a inclination to allow renegade innovation.

One of the funding bodies has just announced that their funding model is to change (again). With 1600 qualifications being retired. Some may be worthy of this cull, others I expect were meeting worthwhile needs and helping many at the margins improve their career prospects.

In some of the work I am doing; instinct tells me that it will become more difficult than before to offer some vendor qualifications in the post 19 arena. Those who have already explored full cost recovery and can maintain the marker, they will survive. Those who have continued to use funding to support their delivery and offer innovative packages may find that their senior leadership will take the decision to drop their programme.

As many post-compulsory providers can only deliver externally approved qualifications, the game is not theirs to change (easily).

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