EDUCATION F Down to a T irst there were O-levels and A-levels. Now, there are T-levels. They might all be qualifications, but they’re all distinct – and nowhere is this distinction more evident than in the new T-level course, which selected English schools, colleges and providers began offering recently. While A-levels and the International Baccalaureate are common post-16 academic qualifications in England, T-levels are vocational post-16 qualifications focused on practical subjects – ideal for those with a clear idea of the career they’d like to pursue. Equivalent to three A-levels, the two-year courses offer classroom-based learning along with an industry placement of a minimum of 315 hours (equivalent to roughly 45 days), with 80% of students’ time spent in the classroom and 20% spent on placement. By the time all T-level qualifications have been rolled out, students will be able to choose from a broad range of course options. September saw T-level courses begin in three areas: design, surveying and planning for construction; education and childcare; and digital production, design and development. Next autumn will mark the start of courses in digital business services; digital support and services; onsite construction; and health, as well as courses in science; healthcare science; and building services engineering for construction. Autumn 2022 will see more T-level qualifications rolled out, and the different subjects will include management and administration; finance; accounting; and engineering, manufacturing, processing and control. Also on offer will Exploring the new qualification that is perfect for those seeking a more handson approach after their GCSEs Kate Jones WORDS: be maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing, as well as design and development for engineering and manufacturing. The final T-level courses (presently) will begin in the autumn of 2023, comprising eight subject areas. Students will be able to take courses in legal; human resources; catering; craft and design; and animal care and management. The three other subject areas will be agriculture, land management and production; hair, beauty and aesthetics; and media, broadcast and production. Alongside the industry placement, each T-level course includes a technical qualification and a minimum standard in English and maths (if students have not previously attained this). The technical qualification includes core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area, as well as specialist knowledge and skills for a career or occupation. According to the UK Government, T-level courses ‘have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work’. However, this doesn’t mean students can’t progress to university after undertaking a T-level. In fact, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, or UCAS, has said the top T-level grade, Distinction*, will have a UCAS Tariff points value of 168 – equivalent to three A* grades at A-level. At a time when exam results are in the news, it’s time to shout about this new era for qualifications. ABOVE: Students who have a passion for nature will find plenty to inspire BELOW: Catering is one subject students will be able to study N For more information about T-levels, visit tlevels.gov.uk Yorkshire Life: October 2020 197
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