The government will press ahead with plans for a £750, one-off payment per T-level student to support English and maths.
The Department for Education has not agreed to calls from colleges to make payments throughout each year of a T-level programme, or to increase that rate.
In its response to the consultation on T-level funding, the DfE said it planned to “fund maths and English through a one-off payment at the rate of £750 per subject per student (paid during the first year of a T-level programme) and we can now confirm that we will use this rate to fund those students who need this extra teaching”.
Today the DfE has also announced the 64 providers approved to deliver T levels from September 2021.
More on this: Second wave of T-level providers revealed
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Enough 'on average'
The government acknowledged that a small number of respondents to the consultation had called for payments to be made in each year of a programme where a student needed this, but added: “we think it is important that funding is made available as early as possible”.
The response added that “bearing in mind expected pass rates, where a student needs to study these subjects in the second year of their programme, the one-off funding of £750 per subject will cover this”.
The government explained it believed the funding rate of £750 would “on average be enough to pay for 70 hours of tuition in each subject in each year that each student needs it”. It added that: “£750 is calculated on the basis that while some students will need to study for two years, some students will pass their level 2 qualification within one year. £750 is the amount of funding needed to pay for the number of hours each student is likely to require on average, based on existing funding and pass rates.”
Some respondents had said 70 hours would not be sufficient, the government acknowledged. And in some cases, they provided more hours than this to teach the subjects in their current study programme timetables.
However, the government stressed that "70 hours per year equates to 140 hours teaching time over two years and will be sufficient over the two years of a T level for students who take a GCSE which requires around 120 teaching hours".
The government also confirmed in its consultation response that 18-year-olds taking T levels would be funded at the same rate as 16- and 17-year-old learners – reversing the 17.5 per cent cut in the funding formula at 18.
Currently, 17-year-olds on full-time study programmes are funded at a base rate of £4,000 a year, but this figure is cut to £3,300 when they turn 18. This 17.5 per cent reduction was introduced in 2014, with then education secretary Michael Gove, who said that the “painful” cut was “forced on us” by the Treasury. The Augar review, published last month, called for this to be reversed.
Furthermore, the consultation response sets out that, in recognition of the additional costs unique to the early T-level providers, it will introduce an additional one-off payment of £30,000 per provider for each new T level introduced in 2020, and of £20,000 per provider introducing the transition framework in 2020.
“This is to recognise the costs associated with engaging in co-design of the qualifications and providers’ work with the department on T level and transition framework policy development," it states. "These payments are confirmed in respect of the 2020-21 academic year only and will be paid in 2019-20 as that is when the costs for 2020-21 will be incurred.
"As part of our preparations for the Spending Review, and subject to funding being available, we are also considering provision of a one-off payment for providers covering each new T level they introduce in 2021-22 – and those introducing the transition framework in 2021. There is no plan to extend beyond this. Further details will be published in summer 2019.”
'Lots to be positive about'
Education secretary Damian Hinds said he was “pleased to confirm today the details of how we will fund providers to deliver T levels, and that we are making an additional £3.75 million available to the first T-level providers to support them to develop and offer high-quality courses for every student from 2020”.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said there was “lots to be positive about in today’s announcement”, including "the significant increase in the number of colleges being selected to deliver some of the first T levels, as well as the principle of co-design to deliver what employers and students need.
"The announcements on extra funding for T level students from the age of 18, as well as additional funding to help everybody to achieve the minimum English and maths requirements are to be welcomed. However, it would be perverse to separately fund English and maths and rescind the 17.5 per cent reduction in funding for 18-year-olds only for T-level students. This needs to happen for every single young person, regardless of their route – we will be pushing hard for this in the upcoming Spending Review.”