AccessHE appeals withdrawal of funding for creative arts BTECs

March 21, 2024

AccessHE has today lent our support to an appeal against defunding 11 level 3 vocational qualifications in creative and design subject areas. These Pearson BTEC Nationals are part of a provisional list of 71 qualifications that will no longer be funded for 16-19 learners from 1 August 2025. 

The grounds given by the Department for Education for defunding these qualifications is that they overlap with wave 4 T Levels in creative, design and media production subject areas that are due to commence in 2025/26. However, the at-risk BTECs provide recognised and effective pathways into higher education study and are valued by learners, colleges, universities and employers alike. We are concerned that they are not in fact replaced by T Levels and that the withdrawal of funding for them therefore cuts off a vital part of the talent pipeline into creative HE and, in turn, into the creative industries. 

A large proportion of students from underrepresented backgrounds entering higher education in London hold BTECs. Those who pursue further study in creative subject areas represent a diverse future generation of talent for the capital’s creative industries and the existing qualification pathways that enable them to access higher education should be protected, not closed off. We urge Government to rethink its decision to defund tried and tested level 3 qualifications in creative subject areas and instead commit to retaining the three-route model of A Levels, T Levels and BTECs.  

Responding to the publication of the provisional list of qualifications for defunding, Chris Lane, Dean of the School of Computing and Digital Media at London Metropolitan University, commented: 

“All of these [11] qualifications serve as suitable for entry onto creative technology degrees at London Metropolitan University and as such they represent a powerful driver of much needed skills into the creative industries. It would be damaging to this economic sector if the awards were to be defunded.” 


Notes to editors 

  1. A full list of the 11 at-risk qualifications can be found on the Pearson website. They are in the following areas: Creative Digital Media Production, Creative Media Practice, Music Technology, and Production Arts Practice. AccessHE’s letter appealing the proposed withdrawal of funding can be viewed on our website. 
  1. As part of the Protect Student Choice campaign, AccessHE and London Higher are committed to ensuring that applied general qualifications such as BTECs continue to play a major role in the future qualifications landscape. More information on the campaign can be found at