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The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) would welcome views from providers on draft outline content for two T Levels in Business and Admin (Management & Administration and Human Resources) and for one T Level in Hair and Beauty (Hair, Beauty & Aesthetics).
This content has been developed by T Level panels of experts and will be used by awarding bodies to develop technical qualifications for each T Level.
Why we are seeking views
Providers are well-placed to feedback on the suitability of courses, which is crucial in developing the detailed qualification specification and allocating funding to each course.
This will help us find out:
- The number of hours we might expect the content covered to take (from your teaching experience).
- The suitability of the content for teaching in a study-based setting.
- If there are gaps in content or content that is unnecessary.
- Whether the content will provide good preparation for skilled employment.
- Whether this content would provide a good preparation for students to go on to higher education in a relevant area.
- The differing levels of prior attainment required.
What are T Levels
T Levels are new two-year, technical study programmes that will be available across 11 industry routes. Alongside apprenticeships and A levels, T Levels will be one of the 3 major options available to students aged 16 – 19.
T Level panels of experts set out the knowledge and skills required for each T Level, based on the same occupational standards as apprenticeships. This ensures that individuals taking T Levels can develop the technical knowledge and skills required by employers in that industry.
The outline content for the first T Levels (in Education and Childcare, Construction, Digital, and Health and Science) has already been approved and published, and forms part of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the first wave of T Level Technical Qualifications. These T Levels will be rolled out from September 2020.
We are now consulting on the outline content for a further 4 T Levels, which will form part of a batch that will be rolled out from 2021 onwards.
The Institute oversees the development and approval of the standards, qualifications and occupational maps for T Levels and apprenticeships. In addition to their role in approving apprenticeship standards, the Institute’s Route Panels – made up of employers and industry experts – are scrutinising the outline content for all T Levels. The Institute will also award and manage contracts for the development of T Levels.
If you are a provider and would like to send in your feedback, please respond by midnight on Friday 1 November 2019.
What happens next?
We will consider your responses as we consider the outline content for the two pathways.
We will publish the final content for these T Level pathways in 2020.
A new survey commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that 3 in 5 parents in England have still not heard of T Levels.
With only one year to go until the first T Levels are rolled out in England, a survey of parents of 11-18 year olds commissioned by CMI shows that around 3 in 5 parents (57%) have still not heard of T Levels and only 1 in 10 (11%) feel they know a lot about them.
This lack of awareness is greater among those from lower socioeconomic groups, where 84% of parents had never heard of T Levels.
Once explained, many parents are optimistic about the potential of T Levels. 71% think T Levels will help prepare young people with the skills needed for the workforce, 58% think they will be better than existing vocational programmes and 53% think they will have the same status and value as A Levels.
When challenged over the survey’s findings, the DfE said they would be launching a fresh “nationwide campaign” to raise awareness next month.
Public relations firm Havas Worldwide London Ltd won a contract to design the T-levels logo for £250,000 and has since been given access to £3 million for the implementation of the campaign in 2019/20.
The DfE has not said what this campaign will involve.
A YouTube video, which explains what T-levels are, was published by the DfE last year but has only had just over 11,000 views to date, while a similar video launched last month only has 970.
Rob Wall, Head of Policy at CMI said:
“Raising awareness of T Levels with parents is proving to be a real challenge. As parents are a major influencer in young people’s education and career choices, educating and informing parents will be key to making T Levels a success.
“At CMI, we know that high quality technical and vocational education increases employability and boosts social mobility and the Government’s recent announcement to invest additional funding in T Levels is to be welcomed. But students cannot enjoy these benefits if they are not aware of or not encouraged to consider non-academic pathways.
“The fact that over 4 in 5 parents from lower income households have still not heard of T Levels should be a huge wake up call for Ministers and policy makers alike.”
While some individual colleges have launched, or are gearing up to launch their own T-level awareness raising campaigns, some say they themselves do not have enough information about the new qualifications.
Sajid Javid is to announce £400 million of extra funding for further education in England to support the introduction of new T-Level qualifications.
The chancellor wrote in The Guardian that the additional money, which is part of his spending review, will help fund the new technical and vocational qualifications as well as “more expensive” courses in science, engineering and mathematics.
‘I want this investment to start to end the snobbishness in some quarters about the quality and importance of a vocational education,’ he wrote. ‘It was a FE college that equipped me with the qualifications needed to pursue my ambitions.’
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the funding will help young people “get the skills to get the right jobs”.
T-Levels were first announced in the 2017 Spring Budget as a new two-year qualification that will provide an alternative to A-Levels. They will combine a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job experience, with the first courses starting in September 2020.
News of further investment follows a pledge from then-chancellor Philip Hammond in his 2018 Spring Statement to channel £500 million into the new qualifications and £50 million into supporting employers to roll out T-Level placements.
Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies Paul Johnson welcomed Javid’s funding announcement. “We hear a lot about schools. We hear a lot about universities. But it’s actually the further education sector that has had the biggest cuts since 2010,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Javid’s pledge comes as business groups have written to him urging government to use the spending review on Wednesday (4 September), brought forward to earlier in the month than planned, to broaden the apprenticeship levy.
In the joint letter the coalition of bodies said that a reformed levy would allow employers to spend funds more flexibly, helping millions more workers to benefit from training and career progression opportunities, and providing a much-needed boost to the UK economy.
The bodies, which represent hundreds of employers and include the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and CIPD, have written to the chancellor in response to commitments he made during his campaign for leadership of the Conservative Party.
Javid wrote in the Financial Times on 7 June that he would open up training opportunities to more workers. “I will broaden the apprenticeship levy into a wider skills levy, giving employers the flexibility they need to train their workforce while ensuring they continue to back apprenticeships,” he said.
The letter said ‘this would be the right step’: ‘A levy that allows businesses greater flexibility to fund accredited quality training that is effective for workers and employers – rather than meeting a government target – would be ideal. It would help to fill skills shortages and enable higher pay for workers,’ it stated.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said that the current levy system is not flexible enough and locks too many workers out of training.
“The apprenticeship levy was designed with the best intentions, but the current approach has not worked. The number of young workers doing apprenticeships has slowed and non-apprenticeship training has taken a huge hit. It’s time to think again. Moving away from a complex system that locks many workers out to a flexible skills levy that lets firms buy the most appropriate high-quality training for any worker is the right choice,” he said.
Carberry added that increased funding is vital to increasing productivity in the UK:
“Our Report on Jobs survey tells us that there are skills shortages all across the economy – from logistics to hospitality to health and social care, and the recruitment industry is doing its part to help. However, they employ almost one million temporary agency workers who are currently shut out of levy-funded training. A flexible skills levy would allow recruiters to provide quality training for temps, which would help them progress at work, earn more and fill some of these vital roles.
“At this critical time for the UK skills matter more than ever. It is time for this policy to be redesigned in order to boost productivity and help workers to learn and progress.”
CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said that the apprenticeship levy is too restrictive and prevents employers from creating more opportunities for workers.
“The apprenticeship levy is too inflexible and fails to encourage or create the best opportunities for employers to invest in the skills they need to boost the UK’s productivity and competitiveness. Our research shows employers want a more flexible training levy that supports investment in apprenticeships, as well as other equally-important forms of workplace training and development,” he said.
Javid has promised increased spending for schools, the NHS and the police in his spending review, but said public spending would still be restricted: “At a time when the global economy is slowing it’s important that we don’t let our public finances get out of control. Any departments expecting a blank cheque will be sorely disappointed.”
At a pre-spending review speech last Wednesday (28 August) shadow chancellor John McDonnell criticised the spending plans as trying to appeal to voters. “People see through this exercise as crude electioneering […] You take the top three or four issues that are prioritised in the opinion polls and throw as much and as little money and promises at them that will shift enough votes,” he said.
“That’s why we have had a number of grandiose announcements from Boris Johnson throughout the past month on the NHS, education and policing. If nothing else this has proved what we have said all along: austerity was always a political choice not an economic necessity.”
UCAS has confirmed T Levels will be allocated UCAS points in line with 3 A levels.
The Tariff is a broad metric based on a qualification’s size and grading structure, and uses regulated information to inform its allocation.
The Tariff score allocated to T Levels aligns to the standard confirmed by the Department for Education. Further information on this can be found on the Department for Education’s website.
The Tariff points allocated for each overall grade is as follows:
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“T Levels will be the gold standard technical course of choice for young people post-16 and will carry UCAS points equivalent to 3 of our world-class A levels. This means young people, parents and employers can be confident T Levels will be just as stretching as their academic equivalents, and will offer students the option of progressing to the next level, whether that is a job, higher technical training, a degree or an apprenticeship.
“Last week the Education Secretary also announced that T Level results will be published on the same day as A levels from 2022, so that all students receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work.
“We have also confirmed today that students who pass all elements of their T Level will receive an overall grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*; and they will get a nationally recognised certificate (‘T Level Certificate’) which will show their overall grade and a breakdown of what they have achieved across the T Level programme.”
Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirmed on 18th June that new T Level qualifications will become a reality from September 2020, as a second wave of further education providers are announced to deliver courses from 2021.
The move signals a major step forward in Mr Hinds’ 10-year ambition to overhaul technical education, and is further demonstration of the Government’s commitment to give more young people access to high-quality training opportunities so they can secure rewarding careers. Read more