June 1, 2018 dmh

The Government published its response to the T level consultation on Friday 25 May 2018. This is a very comprehensive document and does pick up on many of the issues that were thought by many in the sector to be missing in the consultation.

  • there is recognition that work needs to be done on the provision that leads to T levels and the Department for Education (DfE) has committed to looking at level 2 and what is in the transition year for those who are not ready to progress directly from school to the T levels at level 3 (equivalent to A Levels).
  • They has also committed to doing further work on how to support young people with a learning disability.
  • There is still a lack of information on how the T levels relate to training for adults and the progression route onto T levels.

Full roll-out of the 15 T levels will not be until 2023.

The Government received 430 responses to the consultation. The main findings included:

  • respondents wanted the DfE to be clearer about the purpose of T Levels and their positioning within the education system. This includes their target audience in relation to A levels and apprenticeships, and how a student with a T Level will compare to a student with a level 3 apprenticeship in a similar occupation
  • T Levels need to be rigorous, adding value for employers, as well as inclusive of students with additional needs
  • there is support for simplification of the existing qualifications system, but only where this is employer-led and does not leave gaps in high quality provision
  • T Levels need to be as accessible as possible to students with special educational needs or a disability (SEND), including reasonable adjustments in assessments and industry placements
  • industry placements are an important part of T Levels, but will be challenging to deliver on a national scale. The DfE needs to take action to mitigate inequality of opportunity
  • there is support for a transition offer to support progression to level 3 provision
  • there is general support for using an ‘in year’ funding model initially, rather than a lagged system. This will give providers the additional funding needed to deliver T Levels at the time they are taught
  • T Levels will require supportive infrastructure, extensive marketing and time for the benefits to be realised.

The Government has considered the responses and will be adjusting its approach to T Level design and implementation to take the views it received into account. It has said that it will:

  • award an overall Pass grade for T Levels so it is clear to employers that a student has successfully completed all components of the programme. A Pass grade will only be awarded if a student successfully completes the industry placement, attains the Technical Qualification, and achieves the other specified elements of the T Level programme. The DfE is exploring how higher overall grades could be awarded above an overall Pass, i.e. Merit and Distinction. The different components of the Technical Qualification will still be graded separately
  • provide additional support to enable T Level industry placements to be successfully delivered, including widening the remit of the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS) to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for advice and support to employers
  • fund maths and English for students who have not yet achieved level 2 in addition to the hours required for the other parts of the course
  • work closely with providers delivering the first T Levels to co-create the programmes and to address the delivery concerns raised by respondents
  • increase the level and pace of our communication, as we move towards delivery, to respond to respondents’ need for information, engage them in the design process and help them prepare for launch
  • show how we are learning lessons from previous attempts to reform vocational and technical education, particularly from the 14-19 Diplomas.

A substantial, high quality industry placement with an external employer will be an essential part of each T Level. They will give students the chance to put into practice the technical knowledge and skills they have learned in the classroom. Recognising the importance of this placement taking part in a real world, working environment – in industry – to the T Level programme as a whole, they will now be known as ‘T Level industry placements’.

A full list of our changes and decisions are summarised in Annex C of the report.

The Government is undertaking a co-design process with providers and employers to make sure that T Level courses work for them and students. Providers delivering in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic year will have the opportunity to work with the Department for Education (DfE) to shape and influence T Level courses, designing and testing the details of the programme and the best approaches for implementation and will use this to identify the best way to support providers from September 2022 onwards. The link to the main document is: T levels Implementation


The report states:”We are already communicating with key audiences to increase awareness, understanding and engagement. As we move towards first teaching in 2020, the scale and pace of this communication will increase. As well as giving regular updates on progress, a comprehensive marketing strategy will be developed to make sure that parents, teachers, students and careers professionals know about T Levels and when new technical options will be available” (p. 20).

On page 52 it states: “A variety of suggestions were received relating to the support that could be offered during a transition offer most commonly, some form of meaningful contact with industry, high quality careers advice, guidance and one-to-one mentoring and an emphasis on developing employability skills.”

This list of pilot providers mainly FE colleges can be found at:- Pilot Providers


The Rt. Hon. Damian Hinds MP – “This consultation response is the first step in establishing what T Levels will look like. We need the continued support of employers to improve the quality of outline content and to offer substantial industry placements. We need education providers to create and teach stretching T Level courses. And we need schools and careers services to explain the benefits of choosing a technical education to all students. We need to make sure our young people have the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow – this is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Ensuring we have more outstanding schools, world-leading universities and the technical skills that will drive our economy are key to this. We will keep listening to the views of employers, providers, students and parents. Together, we will create the world’s finest technical education system”.

What are your thoughts /experiences in this regard?


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