From education to employment

Government Announces Adjustments to T-Level Offerings and Qualification Overlaps

woman cutting a womans hair

In a recent statement by Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships, and Higher Education, the government announced significant adjustments to the delivery of Wave 4 T Levels and the alignment of Technical Qualifications.

Following consultations with representatives from the hair and beauty sector plans for a combined T Level in Hair and Beauty have been scrapped. Instead, a new T Level focusing specifically on the beauty sector is set to be introduced post-2025, while the hair sector is encouraged to pursue existing apprenticeships or classroom-based qualifications.

Furthermore, the statement unveils increased funding for hairdressing and barbering apprenticeships and highlights the upcoming rollout of additional T Levels in Media, Broadcast and Production, Craft and Design, Animal Care and Management, and Marketing.

Additionally, the government is streamlining technical qualifications by withdrawing funding for 71 overlapping qualifications from August 1, 2025, emphasising the commitment to ensuring young learners receive education tailored to the demands of their chosen professions.

This development marks the final phase of reforms aimed at eliminating qualifications that overlap with T Levels, underscoring the government’s dedication to providing students with the best pathways for future employment opportunities.

Read the full statement by Robert Halfon here.

Sector Response

Kevin Gilmartin, Post 16 Specialist at the Association of Schools and College Leaders, said:

“Rolling out an entire new system of qualifications was never going to be completely plain sailing and it’s encouraging that, in this instance, the government has recognised it has made an error and has listened to the needs of the profession. However, this will leave many schools and colleges in limbo who have spent time and money getting ready for teaching these qualifications this year, and will have offered places to students as a result. This will mean considerable disruption and disappointment for many. It begs the question as to why there is such a rush to dispense with so many BTECs and similar qualifications before T-levels have been properly embedded. The government should suspend the defunding process so that the rushed rollout of T-levels doesn’t leave thousands of students without a viable post-16 pathway.”

Catherine Sezen, Director of Education Policy, Association of Colleges, said:

“Today’s announcement that the T Level in hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy will no longer be taken forward for delivery in September 2024 comes as a huge shock to colleges who have been enrolling students on to this study programme. While we can see that it is logical for a Level 2 hair qualification to lead to an apprenticeship, we have to question why it has taken so long to reach this decision. It also raises questions about other T Level routes which predominantly require Level 2 qualifications for entry to work such as onsite construction. 

“This announcement comes alongside a provisional list of qualifications set to be defunded in creative industries and land-based subjects because they overlap with T Levels, and creates greater uncertainty for students, staff and college leaders. 

“We once again urge the government to pause defunding and undertake a review of the decisions made on qualifications for the future. The Department for Education must address the sector’s valid concerns about the impact on students and deliverability of T levels at scale.”

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