Further glitches in T Level rollout

An update to the official list of T Level providers this week reveals several colleges cancelled courses scheduled for September 2020.

Three of the flagship post-16 technical education qualifications – in digital, construction and education and childcare – got off the ground two months ago and are being offered at 44 schools, college and training providers across England.

But the College of Richard Collyer, in West Sussex, has decided to cancel delivery of the digital pathway in 2020/21, while another, Shipley College, will no longer offer the education and childcare subject this year.

Shipley has also pulled out of delivering the T Level transition programme – which is being taken by young people who are not yet ready to start a full level 3 T Level – as has Peter Symonds College in Winchester.

A number of other schools and colleges have cancelled or delayed T Level delivery over the past year following disruptions caused by Covid-19 and a lack of industry placement opportunities.

A total of 50 providers were supposed to teach the first T Levels from September 2020, but this was whittled down to 44 by the time the academic year began.

FE Week carried out an early survey of recruitment levels in September and found that colleges and schools had missed two-thirds of their enrolment targets, with digital proving to be the toughest subject to sell to students.

However, full enrolment numbers will not be known for some time.

A Department for Education spokesperson said that while Covid-19 had an “impact on planning” for a “small number of providers”, they have had a “hugely positive start to T Level delivery and we are seeing some excellent examples of practice”.

Peter Symonds College said the transition programme “did not have sufficient student interest this year, unfortunately”, but the college remains committed to offering the course and is “confident” that it will run in the next academic year.

A spokesperson added that the college has “successfully recruited students” to the education and childcare T Level this academic year, and that learners are “thoroughly enjoying the new course and have settled in well to their studies”.

Shipley and the College of Richard Collyer did not provide comment at the time of going to press.

But the DfE told FE Week that in Shipley’s case, the college decided that, given local lockdown constraints, they would delay offering the education and childcare T Level and the transition programme until 2021.

With regard to the College of Richard Collyer, the DfE said they have decided that, given the impact of Covid-19 on recruitment, they will not offer the digital T Level until 2021.

T Levels, are being rolled out gradually over the coming years. A further seven will be available in September 2021 with the remaining 14 courses starting in either 2022 or 2023.