Stephen Jeffery

What Quals are Classed as Level 3 for Prior Attainment


Hi Good People

There is a similar thread but it didn't quite answer my Question so apologies for a new one.

In a nutshell will the Find a Learning Aim database flag up if a Qualification is at a Proper L3 for Prior Attainment.  We are trying to sift through eligibility for the Level 3 Free Offer but we have VRQ's, Diplomas, Extended Diplomas that learners are presenting us with which say Level 3 but are they!! it is  becoming a minefield.  

Any pointers would be appreciated.


No one has replied to this post.

Martin West

Identify the L3 qualification type from the following:

Level 3 (code 5)

Vocational and technical qualifications at level 3 (not on the level 2 and level 3 legal entitlement list)

Core maths

Technical qualifications (part of T levels)

Components of international baccalaureate

Performing Arts Graded Examination qualifications

Pre U qualifications

Full level 3 (code 6)

A Levels (2 or more advanced level passes)

4 or more AS Levels (for AS qualifications regulated before 1 September 2015)

QCF Diploma Level 3

QAA Access to HE

Advanced 14-19 Diploma

GNVQ Advanced

NVQ level 3

AVCE double award

Tech Levels which are in the 16-19 Performance Tables

Applied Generals which are in the 16-19 Performance Tables (from 1 August 2015)

QCF Certificate at Level 3 which is 30 to 36 credits

From 1 August 2015 vocational qualifications of 300 GLH or more that are on the level 2 and level 3 legal entitlement qualification list.



Ruth Canham-James

Martin's answer is right, but it doesn't help if you don’t know precisely what aims they achieved if they’re not in the PLR. 

I asked the Service Desk about this, as one qualification can sometimes fit into two categories (a L3 Diploma, that doesn’t have legal entitlements, could be Level 3 (code 5), or Full Level 3 (code 6)). They responded that these would be coded as non-full level 3 (code 5) for prior attainment, even though they would definitely have fallen under the full L3 category in previous years' definitions of Level 3 Prior Attainment. They used the phrase “fullness is only attached to qualification that go into the legal offer”. This does somewhat benefit us, because a student who’s done quite a large Level 2 or 3, can be eligible to do another under First Full Level funding, simply because the one they did before didn’t happen to have legal entitlements.

So, if you don’t know the specific aims, you just have to make a best guess for prior attainment. Look at similar quals and see if they have legal entitlements. It could lead to some interesting arguments with auditors over whether the student was eligible for FFL2/FFL3 full funding. We broadly assume all L2 and L3 Dip and Certs would count as full for prior attainment, Awards would not.


But, great news, if they got certain BTEC Sub-dips between (I think) 2012 and 2014, they were FL3 during that period, but not subsequently...

There is *literally* no way for providers to be 100% sure on this, I'd usually go for benefit of the doubt, if it's not FL3 now, let them fully fund.

Edit to add: x-post with Ruth who, as usual, puts it much better than I did!


Kelly Knights

We always go with their PLR and if that doesn't bring up anything we go with their self declaration

Ruth Canham-James

In my experience, asking a student to correctly assess whether their own level 3 qualifications are full or not, does not go well. We ask students to pick the level, but also free type the highest qual they have, so we can cross check. But agree, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we do just have to go with self-declaration. If we were trying to claim full funding for someone on the basis that they're only got a non-full level 3, we'd investigate further.

Stephen Jeffery

Hi All

Apologies for not coming back and thanking you all, i didn't get alerts for some reason.  i came back into to ask a new question and saw the replies.  So thank you all for responding.

Martin kindly listed this as a L3 Prior Attainment

A Levels (2 or more advanced level passes) 

Is that 2 A Levels at any grade or 2 A levels at A-C

I will check back this time!

Ruth Canham-James

Stephen Jeffery It's any A Level pass. It's not the same as with GCSEs where there's a concept of a "good" pass. 

Stephen Jeffery

Thanks Ruth

So 2 A Levels Grade D and F is Level 3 Prior Attainment