The Department for Education is carrying out a consultation on the proposed Advanced British Standard (ABS).


Over the next decade the DfE are seeking to introduce the ABS, a new Baccalaureate-style qualification framework for 16-19 year-olds. The main aims are to:

- Bring together technical and academic routes into a single framework, taking the best of A levels and T Levels.

- Increase the number of taught hours for all students.

- Require students to study maths and English to the age of 18.

- Offer greater breadth, increasing the average number of subjects students take post 16, with students able to choose a combination of bigger and smaller subjects, called ‘majors’ and ‘minors’.

- Have a clear offer for all students.

ABS Structure at Level 3

At Level 3 there will remain be two routes the Advanced British Standard and the Advanced British Standard (occupational). It is anticipated that these will supersede the current landscape of A Levels, T Levels and AAQs.

The new ABS will be split between three ‘majors’ in subjects that directly support progression into employment, apprenticeships or further study at Levels 4-6, and two ‘minors’ which will be in Maths and English if not taken as a ‘major’.

The occupational route will be slightly different with one ‘major’ in a core subject directly focused on their chosen sector and a ‘double major’ in a specialism related to the core subject that will support progression into skilled employment or further specialist study at Level 4-6. There will also be the ‘minors’ in Maths and English either at Level 3 or to attain/consolidate a Level 2 standard if more appropriate.

On top of the 'majors' and 'minors' those on the occupational route will be required to will need to complete an industry placement in the relevant employment sector.

Both routes will require EEP (employability, enrichment and pastoral) activities designed to support students’ personal growth and wider skill development.


DfE are asking for the thoughts of employers and providers alike to understand how best the ABS can support young people in their next step - whether that is further study, an apprenticeship or employment – and ultimately a successful career and adult life.

Further information on the ABS is available in the consultation document (or in summary form).

We are asking that our employers and providers get involved and share their thoughts on the proposals. You can do this either by completing the consultation yourself or by letting us know what you think so we can feed it into our own response.

The consultation closes on 20th March so if you wish to share your thoughts with us please let us know by 18th March.

Get in touch via or 01772 706582.

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In partnership with

Lancashire Local Skills Improvement Plan
North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
Department for Education

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