News & insights

NEWS: Altain to attend Westminster conference on implementing the T-Level programme

Implementing the T level Programme – content, regulation and assessment

Monday 29th April, London 

This timely conference will examine the next steps for the implementation of the T-Level programme, as stakeholders prepare for the first wave of T-Levels due to be taught from 2020 and with Government currently consulting on funding arrangements for the delivery of T-Levels from 2020 onwards.

It also follows the announcement from the Education Secretary of the T-Levels Action Plan which confirmed the next wave of seven T-Levels that will be taught from 2021 – health, healthcare science, science, onsite construction, building services engineering, digital support and services and digital business services.

Delegates will discuss the design of the curricula, following the publication of the final content of the first wave of qualifications from the Institute for Apprenticeships in Summer 2018. The seminar follows the recent announcement by the Secretary of State of £38m capital funding expected to be available from Spring 2019 for the first T-Level providers.

The conference will be an opportunity to discuss key themes emerging from Ofqual’s recently published final consultation on their regulatory approach to the new qualifications – and follows the initial consultation which confirmed that the regulator will allow students to take exams more than once throughout the year, allowing them to resit without delay.

Attendees will also consider the assessment and regulation format more widely, including the potential impact of moving to a single awarding body per qualification following the announcement by the Department for Education of the awarding bodies that will develop, deliver and award the first three qualifications – alongside concerns surrounding the potential complexity of the new grading system and the potential impact of a further set of exams in the summer period, and issues around different assessment measures across various subjects.

We expect discussion on the compulsory work placement element of the T-Level, including issues of employer engagement, with a DfE report finding evidence of tension between the willingness and capability of employers to offer T-Level industry placements alongside already existing apprenticeships, and financial concerns for some employers.

Further sessions assess how to prepare the teaching workforce for delivery alongside the teaching of other qualifications, and whether changes are needed to initial teacher training in preparation for T-Levels – as well as what is needed to ensure that T-Levels deliver on their objective parity of esteem with A-Levels.

 

NEWS: Secretary of State for Education ‘Happy’ with Multiple Exam Boards 

This week the secretary of state for education, Damien Hinds, was reported as saying that he was happy with the system of multiple exam boards for GCSEs and A-levels with the author suggesting that this was ‘putting to bed years of speculation’. To what extent is this a fair assessment?

A history of speculation

As the author quite rightly points out there is a significant history of speculation over the single or multiple exam board questions.

The strongest push in recent times coincided with the education committee review of exams administration in 2011/12 and proposals for radical reform to GCSE’s and A- levels that were being tabled including a rebranding as ‘Ebc’s’. The reforms did proceed without a name change and plans for a single board were also dropped – reportedly on the basis of legal advice.

However, the question has resurfaced periodically in relation to policy positions on which the DfE perhaps feels the need for a lever or when the industry makes the press for the wrong reasons.

Furthermore, research has typically demonstrated the resonance of the single board option amongst stakeholder groups including parents, employers and many teachers and schools leaders.

Capability and Intent

Clearly, this weeks response is linked to the decision that the new T levels qualification would be delivered by just one exam board and the same publication has speculated in a previous feature that T levels could be a testing ground for A-levels and GCSE. Hence the question would have been expected and an answered prepared. Whether this amounts to a formal policy position or an expedient tactical response is a moot point as history tells us future events are the more likely drivers.

Sum up 

The multiple board question is clearly as a strategic issue and one that has both a history and a future likely to be peppered with uncertainty. We can also add to that uncertainty over T level outcomes. Hence whilst boards may also be ‘happy’ with a system of multiple exam boards our recommendation is to keep the single board scenario in view.

Your views?

How do you see the pros and cons of single and multiple boards?  Is the question put to bed? To what extent might T levels have a bearing on the outcome?

Please share your thoughts below

NEWS: New Westminster T- level conference dates announced

The Westminster education forum has just announced details of their next conference in the T- level series here with an overview below. Altains’s report and analysis of the previous event can be read here.

Implementing the T-Level programme – content, regulation and assessment

Morning, Monday, 29th April 2019

This timely seminar will examine the next steps for the implementation of the T-Level programme with the Education and Childcare, Digital, and Construction T-Levels due to be taught from 2020 for the first time.

Delegates will discuss the key implementation challenges, looking at the design of the curricula with the expected publication by the Institute for Apprenticeships of the final content of the first three subjects expected later in the autumn.

The conference will be an opportunity to discuss key themes emerging from Ofqual’s recently published final consultation on their regulatory approach to the new qualifications – and follows the initial consultation which confirmed that the regulator will allow students to take exams more than once throughout the year, allowing them to resit without delay.

The meeting will also consider the assessment and regulation format more widely, including the potential impact of moving to a single awarding body per qualification as the Department for Education launches a competition inviting bids to win the right to develop, deliver and award the first three qualifications – alongside concerns surrounding the potential complexity of the new grading system and the potential impact of a further set of exams in the summer period.

We expect discussion on the compulsory work placement element of the T-Level, including issues of employer engagement, with a recent DfE report finding evidence of tension between the willingness and capability of employers to offer T-Level industry placements alongside already existing apprenticeships, and financial concerns for some employers

Further sessions assess how to prepare the teaching workforce for delivery alongside the teaching of other qualifications, and whether changes are needed to initial teacher training in preparation for T-Levels – as well as what is needed to ensure that T-Levels deliver on their objective parity of esteem with A-Levels.