Full roll-out of T-levels postponed until 2023 – DfE
The full roll-out of T-levels has been postponed until September 2023 due to concerns surrounding the planned pace of the initiative.
Yet, the T-level pilot, which will see up to 52 colleges offering courses in digital (production, design and development), childcare and education and construction (design, surveying and planning), will start in September 2020 as planned, after it was postponed for one year in 2017, FE Week reports.
The development of T-levels will be governed by the Institute of Apprenticeships (IfA), which has called the qualifications the ‘Government’s new two-year, technical study programmes available across 11 industry routes, [which will make up] one of three major options available to students aged 16-19, alongside apprenticeships and A levels.’
The year’s delay, revealed in the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) response to the T-level consultation, means the government is now expecting the phased introduction to take four years rather than three. The publication acknowledged that some respondents, such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), had ‘raised concerns about the capacity of the system to respond to this pace of roll-out.’
It added: ‘We recognise these concerns. Our priority is to deliver high quality programmes and therefore we have decided to extend the full roll-out of T-levels beyond 2022.’
A DfE spokesperson confirmed attributed the decision to the feedback the body received.
Speaking to FE Week, CBI’s managing director of people and infrastructure Neil Carberry said T-levels “have the potential to be game-changing, but only if the quality is right.
“Extending the roll-out shows the DfE are focused on not making the type of design errors that have afflicted the apprenticeship levy.”
In March, IfA’s chief executive Sir Gerry Berragan said the timescale for delivering the first three pathways in 2020 was “worryingly tight.” And in a move criticised by many, the IfA has started consulting on content for the first T-levels with only five working days to respond.
Yet, it was recently revealed that education secretary, Damian Hinds, had denied a request from his permanent secretary to postpone the pilot. In a letter published last week, Jonathan Slater requested Hinds to defer the pilot, warning “it will clearly be very challenging to ensure that the first three T-levels are ready to be taught from 2020 and beyond to a consistently high standard.”
However, Hinds urged he was “convinced of the case to press ahead,” telling Slater he wants everyone to get behind delivering the T-levels in 2020.
Principal and chief executive of Bedford College, Ian Pryce, said he was “critical of the way the DfE has rushed change” before, but Slater requesting more time “suggests lessons have been learned.”
How do you feel about T-levels being postponed?