T Levels Research: How Are Providers Preparing for Delivery? Follow-Up Report

Suzanne Straw and David Sims

10 December 2019

This report is a follow-up to NFER’s T Levels Research Study report, which was published in June 2019.

This is a follow-up to our T Levels Research published in June 2019. It is based on discussions at a round table run with providers and sector representatives in October 2019, as well as additional data analysis. Key messages include:

  • the findings of our earlier research still resonate with providers and key sector representatives
  • providers are still pressing ahead enthusiastically with their preparations for implementing the first three T Levels from September 2020
  • although they praised the NexT Level awareness raising campaign, round table attendees felt that there was still much more work to do to raise awareness of T Levels amongst young people and their parents/carers
  • providers remain confident that they will meet their recruitment targets and are positive about the Transition Programme in preparing young people who are not yet ready to progress onto T Levels. However, concerns still remain around access to T Levels  related to the size of the qualification
  • the late availability of the full specifications in March 2020 and the tight timescale for fully developing the qualifications is still a cause for concern
  • providers reported enthusiasm from employers regarding the industry placement but felt that more flexibility is still required to engage different types of employers e.g. via project-based and work-related learning led by employers
  • providers felt they had the staff required for delivery from September 2020 but remained concerned about staff recruitment and retention in the longer-term, particularly in construction, digital and engineering where higher salaries can be commanded in industry
  • uncertainties remain regarding progression from T Levels onto university and Level 4 apprenticeships
  • providers reiterated concerns around social mobility should other Level 3 qualifications like BTEC Nationals be discontinued in favour of T Levels. They reported that not every Level 3 student will be capable of undertaking T Levels or be interested in taking them.