College leaders express concerns over T-Level Roll Out

By May 23, 2023 Industry News

College leaders in England are expressing alarm regarding T-levels, citing concerns over its implementation and defunding other vocational qualifications. Over 100 college heads have written a letter to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, stating that the Government’s lack of a coherent implementation plan puts thousands of school leavers at risk of being left without further education options at the age of 16.

T-levels, introduced in 2020, are set to be fully rolled out within the next two academic years for 16 to 18-year-olds. The qualifications cover subjects like construction, health, science, and business and have more stringent grade entry requirements compared to the approximately 160 vocational courses, such as BTECs, they aim to replace. TIGA has also expressed concerns about T-levels, the potential loss of BTECs and the impact this could have on the video games industry. TIGA has highlighted the valuable role that BTECs have played in providing practical and industry-specific training, cautioning that removing such qualifications without adequate alternatives in place could limit opportunities for students and hinder the development of a skilled workforce in various sectors.

In their letter, the college leaders express support for the concept of rigorous vocational qualifications but voice concerns about the Government’s “sleepwalking” approach, which they believe will worsen the country’s skilled worker shortage. They criticize the Department for Education for failing to develop a well-thought-out and coherent implementation plan, calling for an approach that considers the needs of all students and provides clear pathways given the economic demands.

The college leaders recommend retaining existing qualifications until two years of students have completed the equivalent T-level courses as a means to minimize risks. They also highlight potential repercussions for industries such as nursing and policing, as relevant vocational qualifications are targeted for removal, like BTEC in public services.

This letter from college leaders aligns with similar concerns raised in a recent House of Commons education select committee report, cautioning against rushing the reforms without suitable qualification pathways and exacerbating worker shortages.

In response, the Government emphasizes its commitment to providing young people with the skills required for good job prospects. They state that T-levels are on track to become highly respected qualifications, and the reforms are part of a broader mission to ensure more young people gain relevant skills. The Government further asserts that T-levels are already successfully delivered by over 160 providers and that the reforms will continue to progress to meet the skills needed by employers.

TIGA has proposed that funding for BTECs should be retained and suitable T-Levels should be developed and funded to bolster the supply of talent to work in the UK’s high skills video games sector.


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