T Levels

What are T Levels?

T Levels are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to three A levels.

These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses, so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.

T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 45 days. They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

Read more about T Levels on the government website

What are Pearson's responsibilities?

Pearson is responsible for the specification development and assessment delivery of the Technical Qualifications (TQ) in:

  • Construction: Design, surveying and planning
  • Digital: Digital production, design and development

These form the substantial component within the T Level.

Other components that must be achieved include:

  • English and maths (GCSE or Functional Skills Level 2) 
  • Industry Placement 
  • Other industry qualifications deemed appropriate by the T Level panel

Level 2 English and maths may have been achieved at Key Stage 4. If not, Pearson offer both GCSE and Functional Skills Level 2.

An Industry Placement of a minimum of 45 days must be achieved. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) are responsible for the delivery and management of the placement.

The T Level panel may require other industry qualifications as part of the overall T Level programme. The IfATE are again responsible for the delivery and management for this component.

Other frequently asked questions

Pearson have successfully won the contracts to deliver the Technical Qualifications for the following T Levels:

  • Construction: Design, surveying and planning
  • Digital: Digital production, design and development

At the moment, RQF L3 BTEC Nationals are funded for delivery for post 16 and most are on the DfE KS5 performance tables. We will continue to lobby to the DfE that they have an important purpose alongside T Levels in the curriculum.

QCF L3 BTECs fall into two categories. Certain L3 BTECs were identified as pre-existing qualifications by the DfE review, the last registration date for these will be 31st July 2020. The remainder of the QCF L3 BTEC suite are still under DfE review. 

T Levels will become one of the main choices for students after GCSE alongside: Apprenticeships and A levels.

T Levels will be based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). Total time for a T Level to be around 1,800 hours over the two years, including an industry placement.

This differs from an apprenticeship, which is typically 80% on-the-job and 20% in the classroom and is more suited to those who know what occupation they want to pursue, want to earn a wage and learn at the same time and are ready to enter the workforce at age 16.

It is unclear how T Levels will affect Applied Generals and Technical Qualifications at Level 3. However, Pearson are keen to hear your thoughts.

T levels are designed to prepare learners for specific occupational roles, providing them with entry into employment or progression onto an apprenticeship. They are designed to be delivered in the classroom, yet they will also include a substantial Industry Placement.

The T Level content has been designed with respect to the new reformed Apprenticeship Standards, and will provide good technical knowledge for learners prior to starting an apprenticeship. However, T Levels will not directly affect Apprenticeship Standards or Frameworks.

The government is responsible for the reformation of technical education it set out in the Post-16 skills plan.

Read the action plan

Outline content is created by T Level Panels. These are groups of industry experts who work to define what key skills and knowledge a learner needs to cover during their two years of study and signed off by the Institute’s Route Panel members.

See the IfATE website for more details.

The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education can be contacted at the below email addresses:

How does it work?

T Levels consist of a number of components:

An approved technical qualification that provides technical knowledge and practical skills specific to a learner's chosen industry or occupation.

A work placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation.

English, maths and digital requirements (English and maths at a minimum of Level 2).

Transferable workplace skills.

Each T Level will consist of 1800 hours on average over two years including the work placement of at least 45 days.

The content for the technical qualification will be based on the same standards as apprenticeships and will be approved by the IfATE.

What is the implementation timeline for T Levels?

Sept 2020
First teach of wave one routes in selected 54 providers (Construction, Digital, Education and Childcare).

Sept 2021
First teach of wave two routes (Construction, Digital, Health and Science), plus wave one routes in the original 54 providers and selected wave two providers.

Sept 2022
First teach of wave three routes - yet to be confirmed.

First teach of wave four and beyond.

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