Guidance

T Levels: next steps for providers

Information for post-16 providers on the next steps towards delivery of T Levels.

T Levels are new courses that launched in September 2020. These 2 year courses follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels. T Levels combine classroom theory, practical learning and substantial industry placements (a minimum 315 hours) to make sure students have real experience of the workplace. T Level courses have been developed with employers and businesses so the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. They are designed to provide the knowledge, skills and experience needed to open the door to entry level skilled roles, a higher apprenticeship or further study including at university.

T Level Action Plan

The Department for Education published its fourth T Level Action Plan in January 2021. The action plan gives an update on government’s progress in reforming technical education as set out in the Post-16 skills plan.

This action plan includes updates on:

  • the launch of the first three T Levels in 2020 and ongoing preparations for 2021 and 2022 delivery
  • the T Levels which will be available for delivery in 2022 and 2023
  • eligibility criteria and how providers will be able to register to deliver T Levels from 2023 and beyond; and
  • wider qualifications reform work

Read an introduction to T Levels for more detail about T Levels.

T Level transition programme

As stated in the T Level Action Plan we have developed the T Level Transition Programme for students who are not ready to start a T Level but have the potential to progress onto one following a tailored preparation programme.

We are taking a phased approach to implementing the T Level Transition Programme alongside the introduction of T Levels in September 2020. We have begun by working closely with a small number of providers to explore different approaches to delivering technical knowledge and skills and develop good practice. Over time, this phased implementation, coupled with providers’ increasing experience of teaching T Levels, will help us to understand what technical knowledge and skills T Level Transition Programme students are likely to benefit from developing, to support their progression to a T Level.

We will scale up the number of providers involved as the programme develops. The providers planning to deliver the T Level Transition Programme in 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022 academic years are listed in providers planning to deliver the T Level Transition Programme from the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

We have appointed the Association of Colleges (AoC) to support T Level Transition Programme providers in their preparations and delivery, including through opportunities to network and share experiences through national events and peer learning. They are also pulling together emerging good practice to support national implementation.

In recognition of the additional costs associated with providers participating in the early phases of development and implementation of the T Level Transition Programme and engaging with the department on this, we have allocated an additional one-off payment of £20,000 to each provider delivering it for the first time in 2020 to 2021 or 2021 to 2022. Further information can be found in the guidance we have published on how T Levels will be funded in academic year 2020 to 2021.

The T Level Transition Programme Framework for Delivery sets out information and expectations for how the programme should be delivered from academic year 2020 to 2021.

T Levels rollout 2020, 2021 and 2022

The first three T Levels were rolled out in September 2020, these are:

  • design, surveying and planning for construction
  • digital production, design and development
  • education and childcare

The T Level Action Plan 2020 sets out how further T Levels will be rolled out. There are 24 T Levels in total being rolled out in phases until September 2023.

We have published the list of 2020, 2021 and 2022 T Level providers. We are working with these providers to make sure they have the support they need to deliver T Levels successfully and to give them the opportunity to work with us to develop the new programmes.

2020 providers will be able to deliver any of the T Levels available from September 2022, subject to meeting the awarding body centre approval requirements.

2021 providers will also be able to expand their offer to deliver T Levels in 2022, as long as they are currently delivering to a minimum of 10 qualifying students per T Level route (subject area).

2022 providers will be able to deliver T Levels in 2022 in routes where they are currently delivering to a minimum of 10 qualifying students in relevant linked subject areas.

Selecting providers to deliver T Levels from September 2023

We have announced our approach for selecting providers to deliver T Levels from September 2023.

Approach to date

For 2020 to 2022 we took a phased approach to the roll out of T Levels by selecting only a small group of providers to deliver T Levels. Starting with a small group in the first few years enabled us to work closely with them and ensure we could give them the support they needed as they prepared to deliver T Levels.

Throughout this roll out period we have worked closely with the 2020 providers to test and shape the programme and their feedback, which we have been able to build on already, has been invaluable to us.

T Levels are being rolled out over the next 3 years. The first 3 T Levels delivered in September 2020, another 7 in September 2021, another 6 in September 2022 and the remaining 8 in September 2023.

Approach for September 2023

2023 will be the fourth year of T Level roll out and we intend to have all T Levels available by this point. To sustain momentum and reinforce T Levels as a mainstream offer for all students, we are increasing the number of providers able to deliver them. To take this forward all providers currently delivering 16 to 19 study programmes will be eligible to deliver some of the available T Levels from September 2023:

  • T Levels that were introduced in 2020 and 2021 will be able to be delivered by any providers delivering 16 to 19 study programmes
  • T Levels introduced in 2022 and 2023 will be able to be delivered by Ofsted Good and Outstanding providers only

Providers will no longer have to submit evidence of prior experience of delivering similar subjects or financial health. We will announce how providers can register their intentions to deliver T Levels from 2023 in January 2021.

Approach from September 2024 onwards

By 2024 all T Levels will have been delivered for at least a year and we will be moving towards full national roll out. Therefore from 2024, T Levels will be available to be delivered by all providers delivering 16 to 19 study programmes.

Funding for T Level delivery

DfE consulted on its approach for funding T Levels in 2018 to 2019 and subsequently published its response to this in June 2019.

Information on how T Levels are funded can be found on GOV.UK

On the 31 August 2019, the Chancellor announced an additional £400m for 16 to 19 education for academic year 2020 to 2021. As a result, we will be increasing the funding rate for 16 to 19 education, including T Levels, by 4.7% and the new funding rates have now been published.

As the first T Level providers start gearing up to roll-out the first 3 courses from September 2020, the government has announced that the Early Adopter Development Funding will continue for a further year to help the early providers with the costs of working closely with government on the design of the programme. This will provide capacity for activities such as implementation planning, attending design workshops, and producing high quality materials.

Support for professional development

To ensure that T Levels deliver great outcomes for learners, we are committed to ensuring that teachers and leaders have the support they need to deliver them well. The T Level Professional Development (TLPD) offer, led by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has been available since May 2019 at no charge to providers planning to deliver T Levels from 2020 and in the future.

The offer will continue to be shaped around the needs of providers and their workforce alongside relevant regional, employer and curriculum needs. Providers will see changes to the offer – for example, a move to Regional Facilitators to enhance and replace the Professional Development Adviser role, a more structured and tailored CPD journey, more opportunities for collaboration, and new leadership opportunities.

To ensure providers are up to date with the latest opportunities, the ETF will continue to publicise training and CPD via their newsletter and webpage.

Capital funding

The T Levels Capital Fund (TLCF) will continue to help those further education providers at the forefront of delivering these important reforms to be ready to teach T Levels from September 2022.

We are making available £135m capital funding for providers delivering T Levels from 2022. This is in addition to the £133m we made available through the first two waves of capital funding for 2020 and 2021 providers.

The T Levels Capital Fund comprised of two different elements – the Building and Facilities Improvement Grant (BFIG) and Specialist Equipment Allocation (SEA).

Communications and marketing

Effective communications and marketing are critical in helping key audiences engage with and support the implementation plan for T Levels.

The NexT Level campaign launched in October 2019, supporting provider recruitment activity and making sure young people and their parents have the information they need about T Levels and inspiring them to apply for the first 3 T Levels. Since then, the student/parent campaign has featured across social media, on-demand television, posters, audio and other digital platform and has been updated for the wave 2 T Levels. In addition, a new employer campaign launched in December 2020 aiming to raise awareness of T levels and promote industry placements.

Both campaigns link to the T Level website with section for both students/parents and for employers. The site takes students/parents to find a T Level page which links direct to local provider websites and take employers to a contact form that links to the NAS Contact Centre or the industry placement website with additional materials and support.

Provider communications leads have access to campaign material as well as a toolkit of promotional assets and brand guidelines through the Support with Delivering T Levels site as well ongoing marketing support from DfE.

Thank you

Co-creating T Levels with you and other key delivery partners is crucial to their success. We are incredibly grateful for your commitment to the reforms.

Resources

Queries

If you have any queries about anything on this page, please get in touch with us by using our ESFA enquiry form.

Published 6 March 2018
Last updated 13 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have updated this guidance following the publication of the T Level Action Plan 2020.

  2. Updated the transition programme section.

  3. Page updated with information about the approach from September 2024 onwards.

  4. Information added about selecting providers to deliver T Levels from September 2023

  5. Refreshed page to reflect latest updates.

  6. information regarding expressing an interest to deliver T Levels from 2022 to 2023 academic year has been added to the page

  7. Updated links to published action plan and the transition programme delivery framework

  8. Update to the Transition Programme section following the recent publication of the list of providers planning to deliver the T Level Transition Programme.

  9. Links added to the T Level consultation response and 2021 provider list.

  10. This page has been updated to provide the latest information about T Levels.

  11. Link to consultation response and list of providers selected to deliver T Levels in academic year 2020 to 2021 added.

  12. Latest information for education providers about T Levels including information about the data collection survey.

  13. First published.