News & insights

T levels consultation – Work placements and other ingredients in recipe for success

We finally wrapped up our consultation response last week and whilst we remain clear on the need for change and agree with many of the ingredients, we still see a need for greater clarity on the ‘recipe’ and foundation for success

In a roundup of sector thinking here the CBI had this to say on the recipe:

“T-levels have the potential to be revolutionary, opening up new routes to skilled work, but they can’t be rushed or driven by Whitehall targets. Learning the lessons of the apprenticeship levy will help – this must be a partnership

The government needs to work with business on curriculum design and work placements, involving a wider range of businesses in their plans”

The CBI then had this to say on some of the key ingredients for success

“Key priorities for firms are delivering sufficient high-quality work placements, ensuring that there is flexible support for all learners to progress onto level three and ensuring a universal offer on provision in all parts of the country”

The requirement for sufficient high- quality work placements was echoed through the responses of other key industry bodies, something that we agree on whilst also noting high level of challenge in making this happen.

Building on this Altain also emphasised the need to learn the lessons of 14 to 19 Diplomas, a point echoed by the Edge Foundation in a separate response here.

Finally, Altain’s view was that much will also depend on promotion and how the narrative for T level is developed. That the proposed £9m investment  in the ‘Careers strategy’ announced in December here, is less than one 50th of the £500m investment promised for T levels introduction, tells you there is someway to go to get buy in to the full mix of ingredients required to get the job done.

Your views?

Did you contribute to the consultation? What did you see as the key ingredients for success? What still needs to be done?



T levels consultation launched – still Diploma lessons to be learned

This week the DFE launched a ten-week consultation on implementation of the the new T level qualification here.

As most people in education will be aware, T levels were introduced as part of the Skills Plan here which in turn was a response to the Sainsbury Review of Skills Education in England here. Inevitably the proposals have prompted a lot of discussion and stakeholders are now invited to share their views on implementation.

There are over forty questions in the online consultation so lots to get our heads around, however we have three initial thoughts to share –

  1. Along with everyone else, we agree that there is a problem in skills education and therefore a need for change, we therefore applaud the ambition, notably for bringing clarity to the confusion of vocational options
  2. There are many similarities with the preceding 14 to 19 Diploma programme in which we played a significant role. Given that a decision was taken to close the programme after just three years with expenditure of half a billion pounds it must be presumed that there would be valuable lessons to take forward into the T level programme, even if only a healthy respect for challenge and time required for the change process.
  3. Which leads us to the view that that the conversation may have moved too rapidly from problem diagnosis and strategy towards qualification design and operationalisation considerations. For example, key consideration such as the scale and nature of the challenge of modifying ingrained biases toward academic attainment and mitigation of possible downsides of a franchise-based system are not up for discussion here but could be key determinants of success.


Your views?

Will you be contributing to the consultation? What are the ingredients for success? What lessons can be learnt from the past? Please share your comments below


NEWS: Altain to attend the HESPA/WonkHE/EY conference: Developing university strategies, London Dec 1st

“Strategic planners have a unique opportunity to position themselves as essential partners, advisors and facilitators in the process of change as institutions seek to compete, collaborate and develop from different national contexts. While the future is necessarily uncertain, establishing a more thorough, professional approach to institutional strategy development will be essential if the journey ahead is to be navigated successfully.”

– John Pritchard (2017) in Strike (ed.) Higher Education Strategy and Planning: A Professional Guide

HESPA and Wonkhe are hosting an engaging one-day conference to explore key issues for strategic planning in higher education. The event will build on the work of HESPA’s Strategy Interest Group and the recently-published professional guide to Higher Education Strategy and Planning.

With expert input from a range of perspectives, the programme will cover strategic thinking, and managing strategically. There will be opportunity for engagement between delegates to work on practical ways of overcoming barriers to effective strategy in institutions.