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The Department for Education confirms plans for the new T Levels

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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. You can find a simple overview of them here.

On 30 May 2018, the government responded to the T Levels consultation confirming the current plans for the implementation of them – a full summary of the changes and decisions can be found in Annex C of the response.

Alongside this, the government also announced the 52 providers who will deliver the first T Levels in 2020.

Key points

  • The government has delayed the full roll-out of T Levels, although the first three T Levels will still be implemented in 2020, meaning that the phased introduction of the new qualifications will take four years, as opposed to the three years originally planned.
  • They have confirmed that the work placement will be for a minimum of 45 days in total, but providers and employers can determine if this is best delivered through day release, a single three-month placement, or several blocks at different times during the programme, potentially with different employers.
  • They will be providing additional support to enable T Level industry placements or 'work placements' to be successfully delivered including:
    • increasing funding for providers through the capacity and delivery fund
    • providing additional bursary funding in the 2018/19 academic year to help students travel to industry placements through the capacity and delivery fund
    • widening the remit of the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS) to provide a 'one-stop-shop' for advice and support to employers. 
  • Maths and English will be funded for those students who have not yet achieved level 2 – this will be in addition to the hours required for the other parts of the course. This will come from within the additional T Levels funding agreed in the 2017 Spring Budget.
  • An overall pass grade will now be given for T Levels, where they have successfully completed all components. However, the certificate will include two component grades
    • The different components of the technical qualification will still be graded separately; the technical qualification will include a six-point grading scale for the core (A*-E) and a three-point grading scale for each occupational specialism (Distinction, Merit, Pass).
    • Partial attainment will be reflected in the transcript identifying the components of the T Level the student has completed.
  • They will be proceeding with the review of qualifications at level 3 and 2 and below. They will also be reviewing non-GCSE qualifications available for pupils aged 14-16.
  • They will proceed with their proposed accountability measures which include:
    • Destination measures
    • Completion measure
    • Attainment measures
    • Maths and English progress measures
    • Progress measures – pending a review of the feasibility.  

What is still being considered?

  • They are still exploring how higher overall grades could be awarded i.e. merit, distinction. 
  • How students can take an A Level alongside their T Level, and what support might be needed to facilitate this, including changes to accountability measures.
  • They are working with UCAS to look at allocating UCAS tariff points to T-levels, to support the transition to higher education.
  • There are plans to offer a 'transition' to help learners get to the standard required to start a T-level, but how this will work is yet to be defined
  • They will work with higher education to look at 'bridging' options for students to be able to switch between academic and technical routes
  • They will be working with Ofsted to agree their role in ensuring T Level industry placements are high quality. Further details on this are due to be published later.

First published 01 June 2018