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What are T Levels?

T Levels are two-year technical study programmes for 16 to 19-year olds that include a qualification and an industry placement. They are intended to give students the knowledge and practical skills to progress into skilled employment at level 3 and above, or higher levels of technical training.

The Department intends for T Levels to become one of the main choices for students after GCSE alongside apprenticeships and A Levels.

You can find a simple overview of them and the subjects that will be available here.

When are they starting?

The first three T Levels will be available at selected colleges and schools (providers) across England in September 2020.

The first courses available will be in:

  • digital production, design and development
  • design, surveying and planning
  • and education. 

Structure

T Level courses will include the following elements:

  • a technical qualification, which will include:
    • core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area
    • specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career
  • an industry placement with an employer
  • a minimum standard in maths and English if students have not already achieved them

Grading and certification

Students who complete their T Level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction or distinction*.

The T Level certificate will include:

  • an overall grade for the T Level, shown as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*
  • a separate grade for the core component, using A* to E
  • a separate grade for each occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction. 

A student's overall T Level grade will be worked out from the grades they achieved on the core component and the occupational specialism(s).

Students who do not pass all elements of their T Level will get a T Level statement of achievement which will show the elements they have completed.

To help T Level students get into higher education, UCAS tariff points will be allocated to T Levels. You can access the tariff information and comparison to A Level here

Action plan

Published in October 2019, the Department's T Level action plan provides an update on progress made in developing policy and implementing the reforms set out in the post-16 skills plan.

This action plan includes updates on:

  • Progress towards the delivery of T Levels in 2020 and preparations for 2021 delivery
  • T Levels which will be available for delivery in 2022 and 2023
  • Further information on qualification design issues, including grading, certificates and UCAS points
  • Information on progression to and from T Levels, including the transition year, for those students who might not yet be ready to start a T Level
  • Further detail on the support available for the industry placements  

T Level transition programme

The T Level transition programme is a new type of 16 to 19 study programme, specifically designed to develop the skills, experience, knowledge and behaviours to support progression onto and success on a T Level. It is targeted at students who are not ready to start a T Level but have the potential to progress onto one following a tailored preparation programme.

The T Level transition programme is expected to be a full-time study programme lasting up to a standard academic year in most cases. The T Level transition programme will be available for young people aged 16 to 19 and for young people with education, health and care plans up to age 24.

The T Level transition programme will consist of five core components which are tailored to the needs of individual students:

1. Diagnostic and guidance period

a) To assess students' capability and support needs in order to tailor their Transition Programme to address these needs

b) Help students decide which T Level route they want to prepare for

2. English and maths: For students who do not hold at least a GCSE grade 4 in English and/or maths and are required to continue studying as per the condition of funding.

3. Work experience and preparation: To develop the skills, behaviours, attitude and confidence that will be needed for students to complete the T Level industry placement.

4. Introductory technical skills:  Introductory skills and concepts to prepare students for the T Level route they wish to progress to.

5. Pastoral support and personal development: Relevant and meaningful support to address barriers to education, support emotional and/or mental health difficulties, and support the development of study skills, and reflective and resilience skills.

The T Level transition programme will be introduced through phased implementation from September 2020, working initially with a small number of volunteer T Level schools, colleges and training companies.

You can find out further information about the transition programme here.

First published 08 November 2019