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Disappearing qualifications: the impact on our learners with additional needs

Published: Jan 14, 2022 2 min read

STEM learning

Hannah Wallwork, teacher at a SEND high school and college, writes about the challenges faced by the recent removal of some key SEND qualifications...

I've been teaching science at a large SEND high school and college for the last 10 years, and we've had great success with a range of qualifications. These qualifications are chosen because they fit the ability of the learners, have the right level of engagement and practical elements and provide a recognised qualification. They are fit for purpose, and suit the vast range of abilities and skills of the learners in my care.

At KS4 historically I've had two classes working towards their GCSE Combined Science, two classes working towards their Level 1 Science and two classes completing Entry Level Certificates - and all of the learners have achieved those qualifications. However this year - and in future years - I will have to spend time trying to find suitable qualifications for my non-GCSE learners, because the qualifications that suit them, and are fit for purpose and are achievable, are disappearing.

My middle year 10 group, who previously would have completed the Level 1 qualification competently and confidently, are now having to work beyond their aspirational targets on a Level 2 course, which may not be wholly suitable, but is a better fit for them than the Entry Level Certificate. Why? Because the funding for the Level 1 Science course has been pulled.

I've always been confident and proud of the fact that, in the ten years I’ve been teaching at the school, every child has completed Y11 with a science qualification. But because of these changes and disappearing qualifications, I am now left wondering what will happen to my middle learners? Are there any other suitable qualifications I haven’t explored? Are there any other options for those learners who are above Entry Level but not ready for GCSE?

Join the discussion started by Hannah in the Teaching 11-19 Science group on Community here.