Westminster Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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Next steps for T Level implementation

March 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on the implementation of T Levels.

It takes place in the context of policy developments including:

  • Skills for Jobs - the newly-published further education White Paper
  • the Ofsted thematic survey on T levels - looking at implementation and the T Level transition programme in the first 2 years of operation

Areas for discussion include:

  • the first wave - the experience and lessons learned 
  • the second wave - priorities for delivery
  • content, assessment, and issues for providers
  • recruiting and supporting T Level students
  • the impact of the pandemic
  • contribution to the wider vocational system and the potential role of T Levels in the post-pandemic economic recovery

The conference is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the DfE; Ofsted; the Cabinet Office; the DIT; GDS; the MOD; the MOJ; the Valuation Office Agency; the Department of Education NI; and the Department for the Economy, NI.

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

Areas for discussion:

  • the first wave of T Levels:
    • implementation - what has been learned from the 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
    • what can be learned and carried forward - ways to ensure that insights and lessons learnt from the first wave are fed into the roll-out of the second wave this autumn 
  • recruitment and the experience of students:
    • T Level profile - awareness of the qualifications, key features, structure and assessment methods, as well as their reputation amongst employers compared to other qualifications on offer
    • COVID-19 and T Level rollout - the impact of challenges posed by the pandemic on student experience and satisfaction, and on awareness of the new qualification
    • student satisfaction - the extent to which expectations have been met for students, taking into account adjustments in light of the pandemic
    • communication - ensuring that students know what to expect and are able to effectively measure their satisfaction, as well as discussion on options for future communication strategies
    • the T Level Transition Programme - initial experiences amongst the first student cohort
  • contributing to the vocational system and post-pandemic economic recovery:
    • skills - opportunities for best using T Levels, and the experience of those taking the qualification, to support the economic recovery from the pandemic, and priority areas for upskilling
    • increased focus on STEM - how the role of T Levels might develop with the increased focus on the role of further, technical and vocational education, and on engineering, science and nursing
    • awareness and employability - ensuring that the skills and competencies acquired by T Level students are understood by employers, and the smooth transition to employment and HE
    • shortage occupations - maximising opportunities created by the qualification in addressing key skills shortages, such as through the T Level in construction workforce

Relevant developments:

  • funding - Spending Review, with £162m in 2021-22 to support the rollout of the second and third waves of T levels
  • COVID-19 pressures - the impact of the new national lockdown, including closing all schools and colleges
  • VTQ assessment:
    • Consultation on alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021 - Ofqual and DfE reviewing responses to their recent consultation, which proposed:
    • exams to be cancelled for this summer - but potential for them to be sat in the second year of the T level course
    • students be given the option to take employer-set project assessment this summer
  • remote assessment - expected to continue for most students, but most vocational exams to be cancelled in February and March
  • the T Level profile - 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
    • reports that some early years placements have been delayed, and flexibility has been introduced with regard to the required hours for placements for this group
  • FE reform - the recently published further education White Paper, Skills for Jobs, which will be consulted on later this year and includes proposals for:
    • funding and accountability reforms for the post-16 sector
    • new powers for the DfE to intervene when a college is failing
    • colleges to ‘be accountable for the outcomes they achieve with funding’
  • standards - £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
  • post-16 qualifications reform:
    • Next stage of qualifications overhaul gets under way - recent DfE consultation on qualifications to sit alongside T Levels and A Levels
    • proposal to remove funding for those that overlap with T and A Levels
  • 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
  • the Lifetime Skills Guarantee - including T levels as an option for adults of any age

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; Ofsted; the Cabinet Office; the Department for International Trade; the Government Digital Service; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of Justice; the Valuation Office Agency; the Department of Education NI; and the Department for the Economy, NI.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript 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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles