DfE begins search for provider of £80m T-level support programme

The government is on the hunt for an organisation to design and deliver the second phase of a professional development offer for teachers delivering T-levels.

A tender for a contract valued between £40 million and £82 million was launched by the Department for Education today, which set out plans for the work to start from April 2020 until July 2024.

The Education and Training Foundation has been in charge of phase one of the process to support the first 50 providers delivering T-levels in 2020, but its contract will end in March that year.

The DfE’s tender document explained that as the new technical education qualifications are a “new, higher quality programme”, which involves “substantially” more teaching hours, many teachers would benefit from additional support to prepare for the changes.

It said the winner of the contract must design a programme that improves “capability of the workforce to deliver T-levels by developing the understanding of what a T-level is for everyone who plays a role in delivering them, raising standards of pedagogy both generally and within teachers’ subject-specific areas”.

The DfE also wants the organisation to “ensure currency and industry-relevance” of teachers’ subject knowledge, strengthen the teaching of English, maths and digital delivered within subject specialisms, and “facilitate and support the development of greater collaboration between providers”.

The department said the contract for phase two of the professional development programme could potentially start three months earlier, in January 2020, to ensure a smooth transition from the ETF offer. It is also possible that the department may extend the contract for up to another two years, up to July 2026.

Moreover, the contract could be subject to annual review and confirmation that the supplier is providing the services in accordance with the contract.

The names of the 64 colleges chosen to deliver T-levels in the second wave of the T-levels roll out were announced this week.

They’ll deliver the new post-16 technical education qualifications, in four routes: digital, construction, education and childcare, and health and science.

Applications to the professional development tender will close on July 12.