Want to offer T-level courses? DfE seeks providers for wave three

FE providers can now bid to deliver T-levels in the third year of their rollout, the Department for Education (DfE) announced today.

Expressions of interest have been invited from “high performing” providers who want to deliver the new technical qualifications in 2022/23.

Eight new T-levels, in sectors such as legal, accounting and manufacturing, will be available, in addition to the ten T-levels that will already on offer from 2020 and 2021. 

The T-level Action Plan 2019, published by the DfE in October, said the selection criteria had been developed “to expand the number of providers delivering T-levels so the momentum behind the programme continues to build and to ensure good quality providers are delivering in 2022”.

This marked a change from previous years when the ESFA stated a desire to select a “relatively small number” of providers so it could “continue providing the right level of support in the early stages of rollout”.

For 2022, colleges, independent training providers, university technical colleges or schools, which are currently delivering to at least ten “qualifying students” per T-level subject area level at route level, can apply.

Qualifying students include those that are 16-18, on level 3 technical or vocational qualifications, with at least 360 guided learning hours, from within the sector subject areas for the relevant T-level.

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

Providers who do not yet have an Ofsted rating but would like to express an interest in delivering T-levels need to be able to demonstrate that they have an “equivalent standard of quality”.

DfE guidance states that officials “reserve the right to exclude any provider where a 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”.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said this is a “brilliant opportunity for further education providers to be at the forefront” of delivering T-levels, which will “radically shake up technical education as we know it”. 

“From the very start, we’ve worked hand in hand with further education providers and leading employers to ensure these courses will give young people the skills and experience to land them great jobs and provide employers with the workforce they need to make sure this country continues to thrive on the global stage,” he added.

The T-levels to be taught from 2022 include financial, maintenance, installation and repair, design and development, management and administration and human resources.

The two-year courses will be equivalent to three A-levels and include classroom learning as well as a mandatory industry placement of at least 315 hours – approximately 45 days.

More than 100 further education providers are already preparing to deliver T-levels.

The first three new qualifications, in the digital sector, construction as well as education and childcare, will be introduced in September 2020.

A further seven T-levels will be available from September 2021.

A remaining seven, including courses in agriculture, environment and animal care, catering and hospitality, creative and media, and hair and beauty, will be rolled out from 2023 to bring the total to 25.

The closing date for applications for 2022/23 is midnight on 28 February 2020.