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


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