The introduction of T-levels could be under threat if a “no deal” Brexit goes ahead, according to reports this morning – although the Department for Education has denied this.
The Times newspaper listed the new technical qualifications as being “considered vulnerable to ‘reprioritisation’” in the event that the UK leaves the European Union at the end of March without having secured an exit agreement.
“The introduction of T-levels is not under threat,” a spokesperson for the DfE said.
“T Levels are a way of making sure young people gain the skills they need to get a great job. The programme is on track and the first T Levels will be taught in September 2020.”
Yesterday the chancellor Philip Hammond announced an additional £2 billion funding across 25 government departments for their Brexit preparations for all scenarios.
The funding is for 2019/20 priority areas including borders, trade and security, according to the announcement – which made no reference to the DfE or to T-levels.
T-levels have been designed to increase the prestige of technical qualifications, as match for A-levels.
They were originally intended to come in from 2019, but in July last year the skills minister Anne Milton announced they had been put back to 2020.
A subsequent announcement in October revealed that pathways in just three subject areas would go live in the first year, with the remaining subject routes launched by 2022.
In May this year Damian Hinds overruled his permanent secretary’s request to delay T-levels by a year, in the first ministerial direction issued by an education secretary.
“I want us now to put all of our collective weight behind delivering these T-levels to begin in 2020,” Mr Hinds wrote in his letter to Johnathan Slater.
A vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, originally scheduled for last week, will now go ahead in mid-January.
The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29.