Section 96 is a section of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. It gives the Secretary of State the power to approve qualifications for delivery to young people aged less than 19 years old.
Public funding is considered for qualifications which have been section 96 approved. For some funded institutions, such as maintained schools and academies, section 96 approval is required for the delivery of qualifications to young people.
Each qualification is approved in accordance with its suitability to be delivered to students in the following age categories;
For an external qualification to be eligible for funding by an authorised body, or for it to be delivered by or delivered on behalf of a maintained school or academy it must be approved on Section 96.
However, individual academies may in exceptional circumstances, under the terms of the model funding agreement, seek the specific written approval of the Secretary of State to offer a course leading to a qualification without Section 96 approval.
A funded institution can teach a course that is not on section 96, if it does not lead to a qualification. Section 96 only applies to courses that lead to a qualification and does not cover courses that lead to more informal certificates, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, or provision that is not certificated.