DfE seeks help with course to support young people prepare for T-levels

The Department for Education is searching for an organisation to design and support the phased implementation of the T-level transition offer in 2020 and 2021.

As recommended in Lord Sainsbury’s technical education report from July 2016, the government plans to develop a course which 16-year-olds can take if they are not ready to start a T-level at level three, but who can “realistically achieve it” by age 19.

The post-16 skills plan, published later that month, then said the DfE would carry out further work and consultation on this transition year “over the next six months”, and for some, it “might be right to undertake a ‘traineeship’ during or after the transition year”.

But further information on this hasn’t been forthcoming since.

With just over a year to go until the first T-levels are delivered, the DfE is now seeking an organisation to help them create the transition offer.

A short procurement exercise, which will run for just 15 days, was launched today and states the successful bidder will help the DfE’s advisory panel finalise the content of the transition offer.

The winner will also provide support for “participating post-16 providers to develop, package and deliver their local T-level transition offer” and “encourage and facilitate participating providers to explore different approaches to implementing certain elements of the transition offer”.

The delivery agent will be procured via the DfE’s Dynamic Purchasing System. The department would not disclose how much the contract is worth.

Skills minister Anne Milton said: “We are making excellent progress to deliver our new gold-standard T-levels from September 2020.

“The T-level transition offer is an important part of this and will help young people, who may not quite be ready, get up to speed with the basic skills and gain the confidence they need before starting their T-level. 

“We are running a short procurement to appoint an experienced organisation to support the first T-level providers run a phased implementation of the transition offer in 2020 and 2021.”

The first three T-levels, which will be delivered from 2020 by 50 providers, will be in education and childcare pathway, design, surveying and planning, and digital production, design and development.

On today’s tender, Julie Oxley, chair of the digital production, design and development T-level panel, said: “As we prepare to roll out the T-level programme, this is a positive step forward as the transition offer will provide important tailored provision to support students to develop the academic skills, technical skills, knowledge and behaviours required to progress onto a T-level.”