T Levels could change everything. Are you ready?
To those who work in schools, you may feel somewhat isolated from the onset of T Levels, however, the reverberations are being felt across the educational landscape and as such, their impact is also set to land at the door of secondary schools. To make a success of this for future T Level learners, it’s been necessary for overlapping and supporting policy to fall in line, including that which directly affects schools and the pupils in them, just like yours.
Set to launch in 2020, T Levels are the new flagship technical qualifications being introduced by the Government to provide a vocational alternative to A Levels for learners aged 16-18.
Covering a number of different industry sectors from healthcare to digital and equivalent to three A Level qualifications, the new two-year long programmes which comprise of a technical qualification integrated with maths, English and digital skills have been developed in partnership with industry leaders and employers to create a greater parity of esteem between academic and technical qualifications.
What does this mean for the current technical education system?
The introduction of T Levels will significantly reshape the landscape of technical qualifications at level 3, with the Government set to concentrate resources on these new qualifications and potentially withdraw funding from others. The Department for Education (DfE) will be reviewing the qualifications it currently funds at level 3 and below, with a view to streamlining this by August 2020.
It’s widely expected that funding for many existing level 3 qualifications that overlap with T level subjects will be withdrawn. The DfE has also stated its intention to introduce a moratorium on funding new qualifications at level 3 and below– this essentially means that no new qualifications will be funded from September 2020.
All this is designed to stabilise the qualifications offer as T levels are rolled out, and signifies the Government’s long term commitment to the policy.
Key stage 4 Performance Tables
Interestingly, the moratorium on key stage 4 performance tables will reopen in September 2021, after a three year freeze. This provides a welcome opportunity for awarding organisations to introduce new Technical Award qualifications, or improve their existing offer.
This could be key to the success of T levels. The purpose of Technical Awards is to provide an alternative to GCSEs with a wide breadth and depth of study which, by their vocational nature, are highly engaging and provide opportunities for pupils to experience a different style of learning before deciding on which route to employment will be best for them – A Levels, T Levels or an apprenticeship.
Ofqual consultation: a chance to have your say
In order to make Technical Awards viable and to level the playing field between Technical Awards and GCSEs, Ofqual has published a consultation on proposed new rules that will strengthen the regulation of Technical Awards listed in key stage 4 performance tables after the moratorium is lifted.
Some of the key points to note are as follows:
- Terminal assessment – It’s proposed that Technical Awards should be assessed by a written assessment worth 40% of the qualification taken at the end of studies. There will still be a non-examined assessment which will continue to have a 60% weighting.
- Re-sits – Currently, learners are only allowed to re-sit an assessment once, this rule change will see the cap lifted to provide learners with an unlimited number of opportunities to re-sit the assessments.
- Assessment windows – Ofqual is proposing to dictate the assessment windows for Technical Awards rather than allow awarding organisations to set their own assessment windows which could be chosen to help to relieve exam pressures for students in the summer.
- Published levels of attainment – There’s a proposal to prevent awarding organisations publishing indicative boundaries ahead of assessment.
- Grade scale – There is no current intention to create a uniformed grade scale for all awarding organisation to adhere to, or to align grading for Technical Awards with those of GCSEs.
- Coverage of subjects – At present, there is no comment about awarding organisations having to cover all subjects. We would like there to be consideration of a spread of subjects across technical awarding so the availability of subjects to education providers will not be dictated by the awarding organisations.
The young people who are going to be impacted first by the changes proposed in the consultation are the school pupils in year 8 today, which is why teachers need to begin to prepare for what these changes might bring before these pupils select their year 9 options. We’d encourage all educators to take part in the consultation and have your say if you want to influence change.
Educators are invited to respond to the Ofqual consultation by Monday 2 December 2019 at 23:45.
For more information and to participate in the survey, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/regulating-performance-table-qualifications.
To find out more about T Levels, visit www.ncfe.org.uk/t-levels.
Latest News from
Providing more diverse options for learners studying English and maths qualifications08/11/2019 16:15:00
An article by TES recently highlighted new Department for Education data which revealed that 2 in 3 students who resit their English and maths GCSEs make no progress, compared to the first time they take the tests.
Embracing new technology in the classroom08/11/2019 09:37:00
Too much and too little technology in the classroom can get a bad rap and it feels as if teachers must make their choice as to whether to align themselves with the ‘old school’ or the ‘new age’.
Focusing on mental health to improve learner outcomes and retention07/11/2019 16:43:00
In recent years, there’s been continued focus and press attention about young peoples’ mental health, putting it at the forefront of the minds of educators.
Using technology to transform the way you teach07/11/2019 12:20:00
It’s not an exaggeration to say that technology is revolutionising education making it a fantastic time to be teaching. There are so many websites, systems and software just waiting to be discovered and used.
NCFE qualification supports learner to gain apprenticeship at Manchester’s luxury Midland Hotel07/11/2019 09:25:00
Luke Bennett, a learner at Newall Green High School, has secured an apprenticeship at the luxury Midland Hotel in Manchester after completing a technical qualification in food and cookery from NCFE.
Beat the machines and develop creative thinking in the classroom05/11/2019 11:15:00
It seems that the rate at which automated machines are taking over jobs that have previously been completed by humans is increasing dramatically and we could be on track to become defunct, but is that really the case?
Future-proofing Apprenticeship Funding in England for the 2020s08/10/2019 14:15:00
The Brexit impasse continues. The economy is slowing. And a general election looks likely before the new year.
Let’s democratise access to private tutoring08/10/2019 10:10:00
Recently published research from The Sutton Trust has revealed that more than a quarter of secondary school pupils in England and Wales have received private tuition.
Williamson puts FE at the heart of his agenda08/10/2019 09:10:00
The Conservative Party Conference gave us an opportunity to hear from the new Secretary of State for Education. It was great to hear Gavin Williamson put further education at the forefront of his speech, with a “promise to make technical and vocational education the first choice for anybody with the aptitude, desire and interest to pursue it.”