The Technical Education Learner Survey

NatCen Social Research and NFER

26 May 2022

Research report on the website

NFER are working with NatCen on this longitudinal study to design and deliver the Technical Education Learner Surveys on behalf of the DfE. Surveys will be conducted annually between 2020 and 2024. This is the first in a series of reports, reporting on the data collected from over 700 T Level learners and over 400 Transition Programme learners who began their course in September 2020. Future surveys will include a T Level comparator group and Level 4 technical education learners.

The 2020/21 survey explored learners’ reasons for choosing their course, their aspirations, course delivery, learners’ satisfaction and their future plans.

Key Findings

  • Across T Levels and Transition Programmes, learners’ satisfaction with their courses was high.
  • Most T Level and Transition Programme learners found the workload, including the amount of teaching and work outside of lessons, manageable. Across both groups of learners, those with lower prior academic attainment and with special educational needs (SEND) found the workload less manageable.
  • T Levels and Transition Programmes had been at least ‘quite’ challenging for most learners. Those taught mainly online were more likely to find their programme ‘very challenging’ and lack of in-person teaching was reported as the main barrier to learning.
  • T Levels and Transition Programmes helped most learners to develop relevant knowledge of their occupational area, practical skills, workplace understanding, communication skills, IT skills and their confidence.
  • The three main destinations T Level learners were planning to take after completing their course were a university degree, a paid job and an apprenticeship. The majority were planning to study or work in the same field as their T Level course.
  • Despite the aim of the Transition Programme being to prepare learners for the T Level, just over a third of learners reported at the end of the course that they wished to progress onto a T Level.