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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. 

The technical qualifications for the first three T Levels have now been approved by the Institute of Apprenticeships and accredited by Ofqual for teaching from September 2020. You can find more information here, including the list of newly approved T-level technical qualifications. 


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

What funding will be available?

Additional funding is required for schools to successfully introduce and deliver T Levels. The government has set out details of how T levels will be funded here. They have also made a £95m T Level Capital fund available, details of which (including application forms) can be found 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 17 April 2020