DfE scraps provider quality criteria in final phase of T-level roll out

The requirement for colleges and other training providers to be rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted to deliver T-levels will be dropped by the government from 2023.

But those with ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ grades from the education watchdog will initially only be able to teach the T-level routes introduced in 2020 and 2021.

Only providers with the top two Ofsted ratings will be able to deliver the remaining T-level routes launched in 2022 and 2023.

The Department for Education announced the approach today after revealing the list of providers set to teach the qualifications in the third wave of their rollout.

T-levels are being hailed as the new, high-quality technical alternatives to A-levels. They will combine classroom theory, practical learning and a substantial industry placement lasting at least 315 hours.

They are being rolled out over the next three years. The first three will be available in September 2020, another seven in September 2021, another eight in September 2022 and the remaining seven in September 2023.

The DfE said it has taken a “phased approach” to the rollout by selecting “only a small group of providers” to deliver T-levels in the first few years, which “enabled us to work closely with them and ensure we could give them the support they needed as they prepared to deliver T-levels”.

All providers have had to hold a grade one or two Ofsted rating to deliver the qualifications in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The DfE said today that to “sustain momentum and reinforce T-levels as a mainstream offer for all students”, they are “increasing the number of providers able to deliver them”.

“To take this forward all providers currently delivering 16 to 19 study programmes will be eligible to deliver some of the available T-levels from September 2023: T-levels that were introduced in 2020 and 2021 will be able to be delivered by any providers delivering 16 to 19 study programmes; T-levels introduced in 2022 and 2023 will be able to be delivered by Ofsted ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ providers only.”

Providers will also no longer have to submit evidence of prior experience of delivering similar subjects or financial health.

The DfE added that it will announce how providers can register their intentions to deliver T-levels from 2023 in January 2021.