A new register of post-16 courses is to be created and made available to school sixth forms from September next year.
The new database will help young people “make informed decisions about their options”, said a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson. However, it was still working out how the information would be gathered.
Schools Week reported last month on its website that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (pictured) had laid out plans for such a service.
The announcement led to criticism from the head of the admissions organisation, UCAS, who said that its Progress service already provided details of post-16 options.
Confirmation of the new database was revealed in an Education Funding Agency (EFA) news bulletin sent out to academies.
In the bulletin, the EFA said: “The Department for Education will ask post-16 providers to make information available about the courses they plan to offer, to help young people access details on the full range of education and training courses and opportunities open to them.
“This will be used to create a national database . . . The information will be available through web-based portals, and presented in user-friendly ways to help young people make informed decisions about their options. To achieve this, the established online portal market will be developed and we will build on good practice that exists in the post-19 sector.”
When first announcing the service, Mr Clegg said: “By giving every 16-year-old access to a one-stop shop for the growing number of choices they have, more young people will be able to access the options available to them and make better informed choices about their career paths.”
UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock Cook responded at the time saying that the admissions body had already expanded its service for post-16 choices and that this “now offer[ed] national coverage of vocational and academic courses in England and Wales”.
A DfE spokesperson said: “This system will provide a single source of information for portal providers about the courses being offered by post-16 institutions.
“Work is underway on developing the system and we will liaise with schools and local authorities about the most efficient way of providing the data.”
The department said that the database would make information on courses available “in a common format to agreed data standards”.
Further details of the database will be published in the new year.