Westminster Education Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for T Level implementation

Morning, Wednesday, 10th March 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on the implementation of T Levels.

The discussion and context at a glance:

  • the experience and lessons learned from implementing the first wave in 3 areas from this September
  • content, assessment, and support for providers
  • contribution to the wider vocational system
  • potential role in aiding the post-pandemic economic recovery

The discussion follows:

  • concern over the viability of rolling out the first wave in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • some providers having postponed their launch of the new qualification by a year to focus on the recovery
  • early figures suggesting that schools that have chosen to launch T-level qualifications in 2020 have missed two-thirds of their enrolment targets

The context at a glance:

  • Awareness - concerns over low levels of awareness of the qualification as an option amongst potential students as well as school leaders and classroom teachers, found in research by NFER
  • Industry placements - the DfE New package of support for T Level industry placements and an extension of the Employer support fund pilot to the 2021 academic year
  • Assessment - Ofqual’s Consultation on the assessment and awarding of Vocational, Technical and other General Qualifications in 2020 to 2021
  • Support for standards - recent £5.4m to help colleges upskill the country from the College Collaboration Fund to 20 colleges for improving education, training and skills standards across the country
  • FE reform - plans for a White Paper aimed at a German-style FE system for Britain to boost skills, announced by the Education Secretary at a recent Social Market Foundation meeting
  • Employment - the Government’s Plan for Jobs, including a £2bn Kickstart Scheme for improving young people’s employability, as well as £5.8bn towards recovery of the construction sector

Key areas for discussion:

Experience of the first wave of T Levels, and lessons learned

  • implementation - what has been learned from launch of the first wave during the pandemic, including for industry placements and assessments
  • support - assessing the impact of Government funding boosts and other measures for T Levels - as well as priorities for supporting providers moving forward
  • standards:
    • how providers have adjusted provision in extraordinary circumstances whilst ensuring high quality
    • variation between the three initial T Levels
    • how to ensure that adjustments made during the pandemic do not hinder long-term enforcement of standards for the new qualification
  • learning for the future - ways to ensure that insights and lessons learnt from the first wave get fed into the roll-out of the second wave in the autumn of 2021

Recruitment and the experience of students, including the Transition Programme

  • student attitudes - the impact of challenges posed by the pandemic to T Level roll-out on student experience and satisfaction, and on awareness of the new qualification
  • student expectations - the extent to which these have been met, taking into account adjustments in light of the pandemic
  • awareness - of the qualifications and key features, and the structure and assessment methods, as well as the reputation amongst employers and how they compare to other qualifications on offer
  • improving communication - ensuring that students know what to expect and can effectively measure their satisfaction, and discussion on options for future communication strategies
  • the T Level Transition Programme - initial experiences amongst the first student cohort

Contribution to the vocational system and post-pandemic economic recovery

  • effectiveness - opportunities for best using T Levels, and the experience of those taking the qualification, to support the economic recovery from the pandemic, and priorities areas for upskilling
  • T Levels in the current policy landscape - how their role might develop with the increased focus on role of further, technical and vocational education, and on engineering, science and nursing
  • integrating with the wider vocational system - ensuring that the skills and competencies acquired by T Level students are understood by employers, and the smooth transition to employment and HE
  • Brexit - with the end of the transition period, maximising the opportunities created by the qualification in addressing key skills shortages such as through the T Level in construction workforce

The agenda:

  • Experience of implementing the first wave of T Levels - initial impressions, lessons learnt, and steps going forward
  • Rolling out the first wave - impact so far, industry placements and assessments, supporting providers, and provision in extraordinary circumstances whilst ensuring high quality
  • Recruiting and supporting T Level students - awareness and marketing, parity of esteem with A Levels, experience of the Transition Programme, and student satisfaction and experience
  • Priorities for delivery of the second wave of T Levels and incorporating best practice from the first wave
  • Assessing the contribution of T Levels to the wider vocational system - progression to higher education, employer awareness, and addressing skills shortages in the post-pandemic economic recovery

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; the Cabinet Office; the Department of International Trade; the Department for the Economy; the Ministry of Defence and the Valuation Office Agency. Also due to attend are representatives from Milton Keynes College; Network Rail; New College Durham; NFER; Pathway CTM; and St Mary's CE High School.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Sue Lovelock

Director of Professional and Technical Education, Department for Education

Carmel Grant

Deputy Director, Technical Education Implementation and Delivery, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education


Toby Perkins MP,

Shadow Minister, Apprenticeships and Lifelong Learning


Donna Ford-Clarke

Product Director BTEC & Technical, Pearson

Morag Davis,

Assistant Principal for Technical Curriculum, Nelson and Colne College Group

Ben Verinder

Director, Chalkstream Communications

Suzanne Straw

Deputy Head of Research, NFER

Catherine Sezen

Senior Policy Manager FE, Association of Colleges

Bruce Boughton,

People Development Manager, Lovell