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)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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


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

Areas for discussion include:

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

It follows:

  • concern over the viability of rolling out the first wave with 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 announcement of the awarding organisations that will develop, deliver and award the six T Levels being rolled out from 2022
  • Ofsted to carry out thematic survey on T levels - looking at their implementation and the T- Level transition programme in the first 2 years of operation

The conference is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from DfE; the Cabinet Office; DIT; the MOD; the MoJ; the Valuation Office Agency; 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 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
    • lessons learned - ways to ensure that insights and lessons learnt from the first wave get fed into the roll-out of the second wave this autumn 
  • recruitment and the experience of students:
    • attitudes - the impact on students of challenges posed by the pandemic to T Level roll-out on student experience and satisfaction, and on awareness of the new qualification
    • expectations - the extent to which these have been met for students, taking into account adjustments in light of the pandemic
    • awareness - of the qualifications, key features, structure and assessment methods, as well as the reputation amongst employers and how they compare to other qualifications on offer
    • 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
  • contributing to the vocational system and post-pandemic economic recovery:
    • impact - 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
    • the policy landscape - how the role of T Levels might develop with the increased focus on role of further, technical and vocational education, and on engineering, science and nursing
    • integration - 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

Key developments:

  • funding - the recent government 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
  • assessment - exams will not go ahead as normal this year, with the reported exception of those for some vocational qualifications, and Ofqual to work with DfE on alternative arrangements
  • 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
  • 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 - DfE consultation on qualifications to sit alongside T Levels
    • proposing to removing funding for those that overlap with T and A Levels
  • 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
  • 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 of International Trade; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of Justice; the Valuation Office Agency; and the Department for the Economy, NI.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior officials involved in this area of policy from DfE, Ofsted, Ofqual, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and other Government departments and agencies, schools, colleges and universities and their teaching professionals and leaders, employers and apprenticeship providers, employment and HR specialists, key sectors served by T Levels, representatives of trade unions and local government, groups representing parents and students, subject associations, exam boards, academics and commentators, and advocacy groups and charities, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

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

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Education Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates