From education to employment

BCoT Principal joins call for improved T Level implementation plan

Anthony Bravo

The Principal of Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) has joined the heads of more than 100 colleges across the UK in warning that plans to restructure vocational training could leave thousands of pupils without access to further education.

In an open letter to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, the college leaders said that while they support the rollout of more T Levels, which have higher grade entry requirements, they are “against the lack of a well thought-out and coherent implementation plan.”

They said they are concerned the government was “sleepwalking” into a situation that would only make the country’s shortage of skilled workers worse, potentially damaging the economy further.

Anthony Bravo, Principal of BCOT, said: “Education leads to better life chances and T Levels have been developed to be accessible to all students whether they thrive on classroom-based learning or prefer a more ‘active’ learning approach.

“However, the Department for Education is not following a basic change process and rushing into these changes could leave thousands of pupils at risk and leave our country without thousands of skilled workers. I am proud to stand with my fellow principals and heads of colleges to urge the government to come up with an approach that better understands the needs of all students and map clear pathways for everyone.”

T Levels are expected to implemented in colleges over the next two academic years in subjects such as construction, health, science and business, replacing courses such as BTECs. They are equivalent to three A-Levels and focus on vocational skills to help students into skilled employment or university. They include an in-depth industry placement where students get valuable experience in the workplace and employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.

BCoT currently runs T Levels in Health and Social Care, Early Years and Engineering and has developed the T Level curriculum in collaboration with employers and businesses from across Basingstoke so that the content meets the needs of local industry.

The letter, which was signed by 115 colleges, including BCoT, urged the government to consider retaining the existing qualifications until two years of students had completed the equivalent T Level courses “to greatly reduce the risks.”

It concluded: “Completing a full cycle of delivery, along with Ofsted’s T Level survey, would allow changes or additions to be made and allow everyone to understand and create the clear pathways that will give all students the progression to a job that they and our country needs.”

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