Student Advice

T Levels

By Ben Maples  · Nov 29th 2021

It has been announced that starting in the summer of 2020, the government will introduce T-Levels as a post-16 qualification and we’ve got everything you need to know about the new T Levels.

T Levels

T Levels are a new course and will be available to study when students have completed their GCSEs. T-Levels education is something that the government takes very seriously and soon, more and more schools and colleges will offer this as a qualification for students.

What are T-Levels?

What are T Levels?

T Levels are brand new courses that are starting for students after GCSEs and was introduced in September 2020 and are equivalent to three A Levels.

T Levels have been developed in collaboration with different employers and businesses so as to prepare students for the world of work, while simultaneously allowing them to gain further post-16 qualifications, not unlike a Certificate of Higher Education.

T Levels will have two different sections to them, classroom learning and on-the-job experience in a partnered business for forty-five days (or three hundred and fifteen hours).

How long are T Levels?

Much like a Diploma of Higher Education, T Levels are two-year courses. The time spent on these qualifications will be split up between work and the classroom, so as to give students variety and experience. Your work experience will be spread out over the course of the two years.

All T Levels will have a mandatory placement involved, which will focus on developing your practical skills and your technical skills.

What T Levels subjects can I study?

T-Levels are restricted to only a few core subjects, specifically towards educational and trade-based subjects.

The courses that are supported by T Levels are:

  • Accountancy
  • Agriculture, land management and production
  • Animal care and management
  • Building services engineering
  • Catering
  • Craft and design
  • Cultural heritage and visitor attractions
  • Design, development and control
  • Design, surveying and planning
  • Digital business services
  • Digital production, design and development
  • Digital support and services
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Hair, beauty and aesthetics
  • Health
  • Healthcare science
  • Human resources
  • Legal
  • Maintenance, installation and repair
  • Management and administration
  • Manufacturing and process
  • Media, broadcast and production
  • Onsite construction
  • Science

These subjects will have placements in them and will focus on giving you work experience, this will make your T Levels qualification easier to study and further your T Levels education, it will look great on your university application and in your personal statement (you can see our Personal Statement examples here).

These are being rolled out in separate years, for instance, those looking to study Engineering will have to wait until around 2023 as they have not been fully rolled out at this point.

What are T Levels?

How do T Levels work?

The government has worked hard to introduce T Levels to education providers and they have collaborated to make sure that the system works well for the students.

There are three compulsory elements to the T Levels, which are:

  • Technical qualification (this will include core theory & skills for the industry you are working in and specialist skills and knowledge for a career)
  • Industry placement
  • A minimum standard (if this has not already been achieved in Mathematics and English)

Are the T Level placements compulsory?

All T Levels will have a mandatory placement involved, which will focus on developing your practical skills and your technical skills. These placements must last a minimum of forty-five days, although these can be extended.

Your placement hours will be worked out when you start, but generally, they will work in these areas:

  • Block placement: A part of your day at your placement, followed by part of your day in education.
  • Day release: One day a week where you are expected to be at your work placement.

Some colleges or schools will mix these up in order to keep your schedule manageable, but it’s best to speak to them beforehand.

Your placements will be organised in accordance with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the National Apprenticeship Service, which is also part of the ESFA. You will not be able to do any apprenticeships abroad when doing T Levels, unfortunately.

T Levels are two-year courses.

How are T Levels graded?

T Levels are graded in the same way that a BTEC is usually graded. This means that you will have three possible qualification grades, which are: Pass, Merit or Distinction. After this, you will be awarded a certificate for your grading, which will also include:

  • Your overall grade
  • A separate grade for your occupational specialism (also pass, merit, distinction)
  • Your module grades (graded A* - E)
  • Mathematics and English qualification grades
  • Industry placement details

This certificate will be sent out to you the same way a normal BTEC certificate would be sent out to you.

Will I still be able to study BTECs now that the T Levels have come in?

Yes. The government has not yet decided to scrap BTECs or any other applied generals, as the T Levels are themselves untested, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said that the T Levels have to be put into practice before the government decides to scrap any previous qualifications.

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