T Levels

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Pearson is responsible for the specification development and assessment delivery of the Technical Qualifications (TQ) in Design, surveying and planning in construction and Digital production, design and development.

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Below are some frequently asked questions and their answers, which will help you to understand some of the details of the TQ development, delivery, and assessment.

Frequently asked questions

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

  • Design, surveying and planning in Construction
  • 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 offers both GCSE and Functional Skills Level 2.

An Industry Placement of a minimum of 315 hours 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.

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

  • Design, surveying and planning in Construction
  • Digital production, design and development.

First teach for Wave 1 T Levels is September 2020.

The first three T Levels will be available at selected colleges and schools (providers) across England in September 2020. This means pupils who entered year 10 in September 2018 will be the first to be able to study them.

Other colleges and schools will be able to apply to the DfE to become eligible to offer T Levels.

Find out how to become a T Level provider

RQF L3 BTEC Nationals are funded for delivery for post 16 and most are on the DfE KS5 performance tables.

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 will 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

The Department for Education (DfE) have selected 54 providers to deliver T Levels in September 2020.

Anyone wishing to become an eligible provider in order to deliver T Levels is required to submit an ‘intention to teach’ application to the DfE. The DfE will then select providers for the 2022 rollout and beyond.

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.

Students who pass all the elements of their T Level will get a nationally-recognised certificate showing an overall grade of pass, merit or distinction. It will also set out the details of what students have achieved on the course.

The T Level certificate will include:

  • an overall pass grade for the T Level, shown as pass, merit or distinction

  • a separate grade for the occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction

  • a separate grade for the core component, using A* to E

  • grades for maths and English qualifications

  • details of the industry placement.

Every T Level will include an industry placement with an employer to develop the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will last a minimum of 315 hours, but can last longer. Employers can offer industry placements as a block, day release or a mix of these.

Providers will support employers offering industry placements. This will include assistance with the necessary paperwork, a careful planning process and support with designing the industry placement.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and National Apprenticeship Service (part of ESFA) will work with employers and providers on industry placements.

Please note that Pearson is not responsible for the Industry Placement element of the T Level. Any queries should be directed to the DfE. 

The IfATE has announced additional funding of £500 million a year, once T Levels are fully rolled out, to help providers meet the costs of additional teaching hours and organising industry placements.

Providers of the first three T Levels will be able to apply for funding for up-to-date equipment and facilities. They will also be able to access training to help prepare their teachers and leaders.

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

Specification and assessment FAQs

Core component

The Core component is split into two assessments:

  1. Core knowledge, understanding and skills (KUS) which underpin all of the occupations covered by the T Level which the TQ forms part of.
  2. Employer Set Project (ESP) - assessment of specific knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to one or more of the Occupational Specialisms.

Construction: 600GLH split equally between the following three assessments:

  1. Exam 1: Science and Building Technology
  2. Exam 2: Construction Industry and Sustainability
  3. Employer Set Project

Digital: 600GLH split equally between the following three assessments:

  1. Exam 1: Digital Technology
  2. Exam 2: Digital Working Practices
  3. Employer Set Project

We do. The Core assessment is set and marked by the awarding organisation.

We do. The ESP is set and marked by the awarding organisation.

We will work with employers to design and set the ESP for each assessment window. This will make sure the assessment is set within a realistic industry context and it is appropriate and aligns with the Occupational Specialism within the TQ.

The Employer Set Project forms part of the assessment for the Core component, and relates to the Occupational Specialisms. The ESP is separate from the Industrial Placement (which is not part of the TQ) and does not assess the Industry Placement in any way.

However, we believe the Industry Placement will help your students apply the knowledge, understanding and skills they are learning in the classroom. And as a result, their placement will help towards them applying their skills within an industry environment, which we hope will support their summative assessment of the TQ.

For your students' initial attempt, yes. The Core assessments (each of the Core KUS and the ESP) must be sat in the same assessment window. 

If your students need to resit the Core assessment, the rules are slightly different – please see ‘what can a student resit?’ below.

The Core KUS and ESP marks will be combined to give an overall Core component grade between A* - E.

Occupational specialism

We will be assessing the Occupational Specialism via a specialist project that will be set and marked by us. This is designed to be synoptic.

The specialist project will be designed to assess skills applied in a realistic project context - this will be a series of tasks that will may have to be done within a specific window or on a specific day.

Tasks will be set and briefs given for each of the occupational specialisms:

  1. Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering Design
  2. Surveying and Design in Construction
  3. Hazardous Materials Analysis
  4. Surveying.

Students will be given a work-related problem to solve, where knowledge, understanding, skills and behaviours are drawn together. The brief will require the student to analyse a set of variables provided in context to the occupational specialism; research of a local environment, design a workable solution to the problem and verification of the solution with the client. Students will need to be observed operating safely when carrying out some tasks.

Tasks will be set and briefs given for the single occupational specialism:

  1. Digital Production, Design and Development.

Students will be given an integration project that will take a business problem, two sets of existing code, and the user requirements.  

The Occupational Specialism will be graded Pass, Merit or Distinction.

The roll-out of T Levels is managed by the DfE. As part of your implementation you’ll be discussing with them which Occupational Specialisms you’ll be offering.


The Core Component will have two assessment windows per academic year: Summer (April/May) and November. 

The Occupational Specialist Component will have one assessment window per year: this will be classed as a Summer Window, as this is when the assessment will complete. However, the assessment window may start much earlier in the year (depending upon the TQ) due to the nature of the task.

The first assessment window for the Core component will be in summer 2021.

The first assessment window for the Occupational Specialism will be in summer 2022.


For their initial attempt, each student must take all of the Core component assessments in a single assessment window. So, all of the Core KUS assessments and the ESP.

Yes. There will be assessment windows for both the Employer Set Project and the Occupational Specialist project portfolio.

The ESP is part of the Core Component – therefore it will fall under the Core Component assessment window.

Yes, there will be some element of control. However, these have not been confirmed with the Institute.

We will update you once control measures have been confirmed and we will publish in our Sample Assessment Materials.

There is no specific ‘resit’ window permitted. However, students will be able to resit in the following assessment window.

Students may resit:

  • the Core KUS assessment
  • the Employer Set Project
  • the assessments for an Occupational Specialism, or
  • any combination of these.

A student must resit all of the assessments for the Core KUS assessment, the ESP or an Occupational Specialism, as relevant. Students must resit all of the assessments for each in a single assessment window. So, for example, if there are two assessments for the Core KUS assessment, a student must retake both of those assessments in a single assessment window.

However, where a student resits both the Core KUS assessment and the ESP, he or she does not need to retake both sets of assessments in the same assessment window. For clarity, where a student resits the Core KUS assessment, he or she is not be required to retake the ESP, and vice versa.

For further information please refer to the Ofqual Handbook: Technical Qualifications.

Support materials


We will provide a free Provider Support package, this will commence in Spring 2020. 

For teaching and delivery this will include: 

  • Specification
  • Delivery Pack, including resources to support the holistic delivery of topics
  • Getting Ready to Teach events.

For assessment this will include: 

  • Getting Ready to Assess events
  • Specimen Assessment Material
  • Sample marked learner work
  • Principal Examiner Report.

Yes. We will be using both Results Plus and Exam Wizard for the TQ. However, please note that these are Pearson-owned systems - therefore they will only be used for the TQs we have the contract/s to deliver.

We have no plans to produce a textbook. However, a third party may choose to publish textbooks for the TQs.

Industry placement

No, the industry placement isn’t part of the Technical Qualification.

It is one of the components of the T Level and managed by the DfE.

Yes. In order to complete the T Level your students must complete the industry placement.

This hasn’t been confirmed by the DfE yet. But please note it will not be measured by us.

Yes. There have been some changes to the industry placement. For the most up-to-date information, please see the DfE's Industry Placement webpage.


No. Students don't need English or maths prior to starting the TQ. 

However, it is a requirement to achieve either GCSE Grade 4 in English and maths or Level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths in order to achieve the T Level.

There are no formal entry criteria set by us for the TQ. Entry requirements can be set by providers - but this is outside our remit as an awarding organisation.

We would suggest that students have achieved a good grounding at Level 2, either in GCSE or in vocational qualifications such as BTEC, and particularly in subjects that will aid progression to T Levels.

Yes, it has been confirmed that T Levels will attract UCAS points.

This is managed by the DfE and they hold the relationship with UCAS as to the allocation of UCAS points.

Please note: UCAS points will be allocated to the T Level not the Technical Qualification.

We have engaged with HEIs during the development of the TQ in order to ensure that its content is appropriate for progression to degree programmes.

The final grading of the T Level will be Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*.

For the Technical Qualification, the Core is graded A*- E and the Occupational Specialism is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction. Both of these component grades will be given to the ESFA who will formulate the overall T Level grade, inform providers of T Level results and issue T Level certificates.

Please note: we will not be providing a grade or certificate for the Technical Qualification.

T Levels are a programme of study and all components must be achieved in order for certification. There is no component level certification.

Students who fail the T Level will receive a results slip from the ESFA acknowledging partial completion.

Students who fail a component of the T Level will have the opportunity to resit (following the guidance from Ofqual). However, this may be reliant on funding, which you should discuss with your ESFA relationship manager.

At this moment in time, we would suggest that the Qualification Descriptions should be used for this purpose. These can be found below.

We ask providers not to use any draft technical information on content and assessment for marketing purposes, but general information provided by the DfE promoting the T Level could be used.

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