T Levels


The Department for Education (DfE) explains that T Levels are courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels. 

These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study.

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).

Students who complete their T Level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit or distinction.

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In this article, we explain what T Levels are and look at what current schools and colleges are offering.

How will T Levels work with other qualifications?

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’
  • A levels for students who wish to continue academic education

The DfE expects the total time for a T Level to be around 1,800 hours over the 2 years, including the industry placement. This is a significant increase on most current technical education courses.

This differs from an apprenticeship, which is typically 80% on-the-job and 20% in the classroom and is more suited to those who know what occupation they want to pursue, want to earn a wage and learn at the same time and are ready to enter the workforce at age 16.

T Level courses include the following compulsory elements:

  • A technical qualification, which includes:
    • core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area
    • specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career
  • An industry placement with an employer
  • A minimum standard in maths and English if students have not already achieved them

T Levels: industry placements

Every T Level includes an industry placement with an employer focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will last a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days) but can last longer.

Employers can offer industry placements as a block, day release or a mix of these, and can discuss sharing part of the placement with another employer if necessary.

Providers will support employers offering industry placements. This will include assistance with the necessary paperwork, a careful planning process and support with designing the industry placement.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and National Apprenticeship Service (part of ESFA) are working with employers and providers on industry placements.

T Levels: grading and certification

Students who complete their T Level will receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction or distinction. They will get a nationally recognised certificate which will show their overall grade and a breakdown of what they have achieved.

The T Level certificate will include:

  • 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

It will also include confirmation that the student has:

  • Met the minimum requirements for maths and English qualifications
  • Completed the industry placement
  • Met any additional mandatory requirements

A student’s overall T Level grade will be worked out from the grades they achieved on the core component and the occupational specialism(s).

Students who do not pass all elements of their T Level will get a T Level statement of achievement which will show the elements they have completed.

T Levels: what are schools and colleges offering?

Reaseheath College in Cheshire offers T-levels in a range of subjects. These include:

  • Business and Administration: Management and Administration – you’ll gain a good grounding of core business knowledge and be able to choose a specialism. Your college study, along with your work placement, will prepare you for a great career whatever type and size of business you choose
  • Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning – this T Level has been designed with employers to give you the skills and experience needed for a successful career in the built environment sector, as you’ll cover core topics such as building technology, design and sustainability, project management and much more. Completing the course could open doors to careers such as surveying and design, civil engineering, building services design, or hazardous materials surveying, to name just a few
  • Construction: On-Site Construction – you will be able to choose a specialism from Carpentry and Joinery, Plastering or Bricklaying and also cover relevant topics such as health and safety on site. You’ll work with local employers who have contributed to the course content and delivery of training, ensuring you have exactly the skills they are looking for
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing – this is a great option for you if you want to work in the motor vehicle industry, as you’ll develop a technical understanding of the primary and auxiliary systems of a wide range of vehicles along with the industry experience so appreciated by employers

Hopwood Hall College in Manchester will be adding more T-levels for students. These are:

Business and administration route 

  • Team leader/Management (T-Level)

Entry requirements: 4 GCSEs grade 4 and above including Maths and English

Engineering and manufacturing route:

  •  Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing

Entry requirements: 4 GCSEs Grade 5 and above including English & Maths

  •  Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control

Entry requirements: 4 GCSEs Grade 5 and above including English & Maths

  • Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing

Entry requirements: 4 GCSEs Grade 5 and above including English & Maths

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