T levels: Second wave of subjects announced

T levels will be worth 'the same Ucas points as three A levels', education secretary Damian Hinds will announce

Stephen Exley

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The second wave of T-level programmes, which will be taught from 2021, have been announced.

The first T levels, in education, construction and digital, will be introduced into around 50 FE providers and schools from September 2020.

In a major speech on technical education today, education secretary Damian Hinds will unveil the next set of courses to be introduced the following year.

These are:

  • Health
  • Healthcare science
  • Science
  • On-site construction
  • Building services engineering
  • Digital support and services
  • Digital business services

Mr Hinds will also unveil plans for a “new generation” of higher technical qualifications at levels 4 and 5.

Ucas points for T levels

Mr Hinds is also expected to confirm that Ucas points for university applications will be awarded for T levels, with “each programme carrying the same Ucas points as three A levels”. But with different numbers of Ucas points allocated for different A-level grades, it is not yet clear exactly how many Ucas points a T level will be worth.

Allocating Ucas points for T levels, however, means that “young people, parents and employers know they are as stretching as their academic equivalents and will act as a stepping stone to progress to the next level, whether that is a degree, higher-level technical training or an apprenticeship”, according to the Department for Education.

In February, however, some of Britain’s best universities told Tes they had already decided not to accept T levels.

Gold-standard technical qualifications?

Mr Hinds will say that the new qualifications will “help put Britain’s technical education system on a par with the best in the world, like Germany, [the] Netherlands and Switzerland”.

The new programmes will be eventually be backed by £500 million of funding when the qualifications are fully rolled out. The government also announced it was investing £38 million in capital funding “to support the first T-level providers to invest in high-quality equipment and facilities”.

In July, apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton said she would advise her children to "leave it a year" before starting a new qualification like T levels. In May, Mr Hinds rejected a one-year delay to the T-level implementation proposed by the DfE's permanent secretary. 

But the programme received a boost last month when renowned international educationalist Andreas Schleicher, the director for education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the T-level programme was a “good step”.

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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