ESFA seeks training providers to deliver T-levels from 2021

Training providers can now bid to deliver T-levels in the second year of their rollout, the Education and Skills Funding Agency has announced.

Guidance, published today, invites expressions of interest from providers who want to deliver the new technical qualifications in 2021/22, and sets out the criteria they will need to meet.

The ESFA has continued with its desire to select a “relatively small number” of providers for year two of T-levels “so we can continue providing the right level of support in the early stages of rollout” but it’s not clear how many it wants.

The agency has, however, slightly “developed” the criteria to select providers for delivery in 2021 compared to 2020 to “recognise providers delivering technical education to a large number of students”.

Providers can be colleges, independent training providers, university technical colleges or schools that currently deliver relevant ESFA-funded 16-to-19 education to at least 10 qualifying students per T-level subject area level they are applying to deliver.

They must also have at least 100 qualifying students across all pathways they are applying to deliver.

But for those providers in the Department for Education’s “opportunity areas”, they are only required to currently deliver to a minimum of 50 students across all T-level pathways they are applying to deliver.

All providers must be rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and must have at least ‘satisfactory’ financial health.

Skills minster Anne Milton said: “This is a truly exciting time. I’m absolutely thrilled at the progress we have made to deliver new T-levels.

“I would absolutely urge further education providers that meet the criteria to consider applying to be the first to teach the next wave of T-levels from 2021. It is a fantastic opportunity to be part of education history and help change lives for the better.”

The ESFA said in the event that there is “significant interest” from providers, it will “increase the minimum student number set out in the criteria to help us establish a manageable number of selected providers”.

The guidance includes a list of commitments that the chosen providers will need to make, including “comment on the content developed for the T-level routes for delivery in 2021 to 2022”, and work “collaboratively with employers to offer a substantial industry placement with an employer, away from the students’ learning environment”.

They must also act as “champions of T-levels by positively promoting them, to build momentum and maximise student take-up on roll out”.

Today’s guidance states that the ESFA reserves the right to “exclude any provider where a Financial Notice to Improve is in place, where a provider is at risk of financial difficulty or where there are any other known issues that could prevent or affect quality delivery”.

The T-level qualifications to be taught from 2021 include health, healthcare science, science, onsite construction, building services engineering, digital support and services and digital business services.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 28 February 2019.