The government is fully committed to delivering T levels in 2020 and 2021, FE and skills minister Gillian Keegan has said today.
In a letter to providers planning to offer the new qualifications in 2020 and 2021, Ms Keegan said that although providers have raised some issues with delivery owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, “most wanted to continue to deliver the first T levels this year.”
She also said the first T-level technical qualifications (TQs) had now been published by the awarding organisations (AOs) for first teaching this September.
Need to know: Awarding bodies call for T-level delay
Ms Keegan wrote: “I know how hard you have all worked, both to help develop T levels, and to get into a position to deliver them, and I do not want your hard work to be wasted.
“The government is also determined that students will not lose out on opportunities due to Covid-19 – hundreds have already been accepted onto courses and hundreds more will be accepted between now and September. We owe it to these young people to find ways to continue to deliver the courses that they have chosen and that will offer them great progression opportunities.”
Concerns have been raised across the sector over how feasible it was for T levels to be delivered in September as planned. Shadow FE and HE minister Emma Hardy has called for them to be delayed, as has the Federation of Awarding Bodies chief executive Tom Bewick.
Ms Keegan told providers that she did not “underestimate the difficulties in carrying on with delivery in the current climate” and encouraged them to get in touch with usual ESFA with any specific issues or questions.
Capacity and delivery fund targets
She confirmed that given the “exceptional and unprecedented circumstances” providers would not be penalised for missing specific CDF targets this academic year.
She wrote: “I know that the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 has meant that it is currently extremely difficult for you to continue to organise and deliver industry placements through the Capacity and Delivery Fund (CDF), which was already one of the most challenging elements in delivering T Levels.
“Funding will not be clawed back if you can demonstrate how the funding has and will continue to support your work on industry placement delivery.”
She also confirmed that providers have the flexibility to decide when in the two-year course it is best for work placements to take place.
For providers who were due to deliver in 2021, the current deadline to submit capital bids to support 2021 delivery of T levels of 30 April has been moved back to 26 June.
The Institute Apprenticeships and Technical Education chief executive, Jennifer Coupland, said: “In these troubled times, it is important to focus as much as possible on the positives. We are delivering T Levels on schedule and to a high standard. It is a huge team effort and I would like to congratulate everyone who has contributed so far."
Overseen by the institute following an extensive procurement exercise, the first three T levels have been developed by the awarding organisations with the support of providers and employers.
NCFE leads on the education and childcare T level, and Pearson leads on the T levels for digital production, design and development and design, surveying and planning for construction.