Ben Wyse

Level 3 - Full Level 3s?


Hello all

I am looking for some guidance on what qualifications are classed as FULL level 3s for the purposes of prior attainment for the new Level 3 entitlement?

I know that this funding is for learners without full level 3s already. We have learners coming to us who have awards and certificates but I am unsure how to determine if they are classed as full level 3s.  I have looked at the guidance and it points to the guidance on performance tables but this only seems to be list a few qualifications under each subject area unless I am missing something.

Can anyone help?


Thanks :)



No one has replied to this post.

Jodie Cataldo

Hi Ben

Does this help: 



Martin West

Required for next year see: ILR Specification: Field: Prior Level (


A rule of thumb would be L3 Awards would be never be Full, L3 Diplomas would always be Full*, so it's only Certs where it gets very tricky, without the actual piece of paper in front of you, and even then, if it's qual from 15 years ago, good luck (I'd err on the side of it not being full)...


*I'm not sure this is 100% true, but high 90s...

Ben Wyse

Thanks all, thats really helpful :)


Tony Green

Hi all,

One of those questions that you feel you really ought to know :(

Ignoring any qualification content within (some Standards will have none), is an Advanced Level apprenticeship a full Level 3, or simply at Level 3?

Thanks in advance...

Martin West

An Advanced Apprenticeship is considered equivalent to  A Levels (2 or more advanced level passes) a full L3.



I kind of agree, but where is it written down?

Apps aren't listed here: ILR Specification: Field: Prior Level (

And this list doesn't separate out Full: What qualification levels mean: England, Wales and Northern Ireland - GOV.UK (

Tony Green

Thanks Martin :) I had seen that in for example, the UCAS guides, but couldn't find anything more umm, authoritative.


I think Ruth Canham-James had some feedback on this one? Again, related to most Standards not actually having quals in them and therefore, from an eligibility for AEB FL3 entitlement point of view, kind of not *really* being FL3?

Ruth Canham-James

No, I didn't find out any more on this. Keith Sanders mentioned it on Jiscmail in February, and said he was asking ESFA. I'm going with an apprenticeship standard being a full of whatever level it was, simply because it just seems right and fair, however;

The bit that puzzled me (copy and paste from my Jiscmail reply), is under Level 3 (but not full) is “Vocational and technical qualifications at level 3 (not on the level 2 and level 3 legal entitlement list)”. In the past, if a level 3 qual had no legal entitlement, it could still count as a full level 3 for prior attainment and funding reasons, based on the credits/GLH/it being a QCF Diploma. Some of our level 3 quals are big enough to count as prior attainment level 3 in the 20/21 ILR spec, but don’t have legal entitlement (e.g. 60346656, 1080 GLH). That qual fits the new 21/22 criteria for codes 5 (Vocational and technical qualifications at level 3 (not on the level 2 and level 3 legal entitlement list)) and 6 (QCF Diploma Level 3), so which is it? Those categories should not have any overlap. Does this mean, if someone has already achieved an Extended Dip that didn’t have legal entitlements, they can do another level 3 fully funded as an adult? That seems wrong.

ESFA Service Desk reply was;

On checking the qualification out on Ofqual, it is clearly displayed as a Vocationally-Related Qualification, and is not in the legal offer where it would be classed as a full level. This means you will use code 5 as its available within 16-19 and loans offers only on LARs and FaLA. It is confusing because it mentions Full level 3 (code 6) when fullness is only attached to qualification that go into the legal offer.

So fullness is only linked to legal entitlements? That's never been the case before, but it would rule out Standards as being full level 3. What about aims that had legal entitlements in the past, but don't any more? Do we have to match up the entitlements that were in place when the student studied the qualification? That's ridiculous. In theory though, it does mean that students who have done large level 3 qualifications, that just don't happen to have legal entitlements, can do another fully funded level 3! That would take some real digging into specific aims in FALA, which you can't really do at point of enrolment, but could be worth having a look at PLR data after the event to see if you can fully fund any, and it would be a nice surprise for the student.


I knew you'd done some thinking about it :)

Laura Rice

Where adults are studying A Levels, are providers asking learners to sign to agree that they will study at least two A Levels and stay on programme or they will be charged (similar to the Advanced Learner Loan declarations)?  Aware there are only 30 A Levels on the National Skills Fund list though. Any help gratefully received.


Ooh, I don't think it's necessarily a thing for NSF? There's a whole bunch of non-FL3 quals that are on the NSF list, so I think the qualification is just funded? Like someone doing FS maths and English, wouldn't be an issue if they dropped off one but not the other?