From education to employment

How are providers viewing T Levels?

Ian Pretty, Chief Executive at Collab Group

In July of this year, the Government announced their plans to make A Levels and their new technical alternative, T Levels, the main further education qualifications at age 16 in England.

They also announced that this would cause BTECs to be defunded and phased out.

On 15 November, the Government said it would delay the reform timetable by a year, with overlapping qualifications now due to lose funding from 2024.

T Levels are the Government’s centrepiece reform for improving the UK’s technical and professional education system. The goal of T Levels is to provide a unique opportunity to offer a high-quality alternative to traditional academic pathways and increase the supply of technical skills in the UK economy.

Many further education colleges believe that T Levels will enhance the prestige of technical and professional education and create new opportunities. Colleges successfully launched T Levels during a global pandemic; this fact alone speaks to college staff’s dedication, resolve, and ingenuity in making the roll out successful, but concerns remain.

Over the Summer, we talked to our colleges to understand their capacity to deliver T Levels, and to understand better the current state of preparedness for the general rollout of T Levels from 2023.

In this “Thoughts on the development of T Levels” document, we analyse the dispersion of further education providers across England and provide commentary on how the uneven distribution of T Levels programmes could impact accessibility.

Secondly, we wanted to understand from Collab Group college members how they view these qualifications and what they see as the key opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The results paint a nuanced picture, but overall, a sense of guarded optimism shines through.

Ian Pretty, Chief Executive at Collab Group said:

“The paper we have published today gives a snapshot of current thinking from our colleges as they prepare for the rollout of T Levels from 2023.

“While we are quietly optimistic about the future of T Levels, we still think there needs to be significant work and funding provided to make sure that learners of the future can be given the skills necessary to have prosperous careers”.

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