What did we call for and what did we get?
• We called for a clear purpose of T Levels
We got a recognition that the purpose of T Levels must be made clear, along with the student journey and where they fit into the wider education landscape. This includes how it compares to A Levels and apprenticeships of a similar level 3 qualification.
• We called for a simple overall pass or fail grade for a T Level
We got an overall pass grade for T Levels making it clear that a student has successfully completed all the elements of the programme.
• We called for greater support for employers in delivery the industry placements going forward
We got a widening of the remit of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for advice and support to employers.
• We called for lessons from the previous vocational reforms to be learnt
DfE will make T Levels a new, distinct technical offer, based on the common standards with apprenticeships. All the recommendations of the 2016 Sainsbury review will be implemented unlike the selection of recommendations that were implemented in the Tomlinson review. T Levels will also be specific in teaching knowledge and skills that employers want by sector.
• We called for progression on apprenticeships and higher education
We got a commitment for DfE to work with HE providers to identify where bridging provision might be needed and how UCAS tariff points can be attributed to T Levels.
We’ve made progress, but there is still more to do:
1. Until providers can demonstrate they can secure industry placements for the routes of study they offer, the delivery of T Levels should be delayed.
2. T Levels should be prioritised in sectors where there is a clear shortage of skills such as engineering and manufacturing.
3. T Levels should be given UCAS tariff points now so all students can go on to higher education.
4. Manufacturers should be supported through more than just the capacity delivery fund to overcome the barriers in delivering high quality industry placements.
5. Industry placements should be as flexible as possible, allowing manufacturers to deliver them through project work and training centres.
The first T Levels in education, digital and construction will be delivered in 2020/21, with the engineering and manufacturing route will be delivered academic year 2021/22.
Our focus now will be on making sure the contentious issue of industry placements is deliverable for manufacturers.