T Levels are new technical courses which will be offered progressively in England from September 2020, and which will follow GCSEs as an equivalent to 3 A Levels.
The courses, which last two years, have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. The UK Government intends that T Levels will become one of the main choices for students after GCSE, alongside apprenticeships for students who wish to learn a specific occupation ‘on the job’, and A levels for students who wish to continue academic education.
T Levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers and approved by the UK's Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. More than 200 businesses have been involved in the design of the courses. Groups of employers are involved in defining the skills and requirements for each T Level course by participating in T Level panels. This process is designed to ensure that students taking T Levels develop the technical knowledge and skills required by employers in that industry.
T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days).The total time for a T Level is expected to be around 1,800 hours over the 2 years, including the industry placement.
T Level courses will be composed of compulsory elements - a technical qualification, which will include core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area, specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career, an industry placement with an employer, and a minimum standard in Maths and English if students have not already achieved them.
Students who complete their T Level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction or distinction*. They will receive a nationally recognised certificate which will show an overall grade for the T Level, shown as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*, a separate grade for the core component, using A* to E, a separate grade for each occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction and confirmation that the student has met the minimum requirements for Maths and English qualifications, completed the industry placement, and met any additional mandatory requirements.
UCAS tariff points will be allocated to the overall T Level grade. Students must achieve at least an overall pass grade to receive UCAS points. A Distinction* (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism) will be equivalent to AAA* at A Level and receive 168 UCAS points; a Distinction will be equivalent to AAA and receive 144 UCAS points, a Merit will be equivalent to BBB and receive 120 UCAS points, a Pass (C or above on the core) will be equivalent to CCC and receive 96 UCAS points, and a Pass (with D or E on the core) will be equivalent to DDD and receive 72 UCAS points.
An initial list of 25 T Level subjects has been confirmed by the UK Government. This number is expected to expand over subsequent years in line with industry demand. No international launch date has yet been announced.