DfE launches T-level funding consultation with plans for 4 different base rates

The Department for Education is seeking views on how funding should be distributed to providers for the delivery of T-levels from 2020, including plans for four new funding bands.

A consultation, launched today, includes the indicative per student funding rates based on hours of study over the two-year programmes, which range from £4,170 to £5,835 per year (see table).

It also reveals that each industry placement within a T-level will be covered with an additional £550 per student – which is £50 more than was recommended in the Sainsbury Review.

The consultation points out that these initial funding bands are based on “the information currently available about T-levels, and may be subject to some change” as the pathways are developed.

The rate of £550 per substantial industry placement, which will each be a minimum of 45 days, is “based on the amount we made available for the previous work experience trials, and more recently for the industry placement pilot we ran in the 2017/18 academic year,” the consultation document says.

“The funding has been used effectively in both cases and has enabled providers to put in place adequate resource to deliver successful placements.”

The DfE proposes paying half the industry placement funding in the first year and half in the second – so £275 a year.

Funding for 18-year-olds will stay at the same rate as for 16- and 17-year-olds because “the hours required for the Technical Qualifications will be fixed, and 18-year-olds will need the same amount of funded time to achieve threshold competence as other students”, the consultation says.

It also confirms that additional funding will be provided to support T-level students who have not yet met the minimum English and maths requirement.

“We propose providing a one-off payment (during the first year of T-level programmes) of £750 per subject per student to cover these maths and/or English needs over the two years,” it says.

Now is the opportunity for the FE providers who will be on the ground delivering these courses to have their say

“Students who need both maths and English would attract this payment for each subject (i.e. £1,500) in total but as T-levels are level 3 programmes, we expect the numbers needing both subjects to be low.”

The consultation, which closes on February 19, 2019, includes “recognition that T-levels will be larger, more stretching programmes and will therefore attract more funding than existing study programmes,” according to the DfE.

Skills minster Anne Milton said: “Our A-level qualifications are recognised as some of the best in the world, it is now time to deliver the same for technical education. T-levels are central to that.

“Now is the opportunity for the further education providers who will be on the ground delivering these courses to have their say. I want them to help us shape this system. Their view is critical so that we make sure T-levels give young people the technical skills they need and our economy the workforce it needs.”

Overall, the new technical qualifications will be backed by £500 million of investment every year when they are rolled out.

The first T-level courses in education and childcare, construction and digital will be taught in over 50 FE providers from September 2020. The DfE is proposing to set these courses at funding band 7 – £4,845 per year.