Know your T levels

Published 19th October 2018

On 11th October 2018, the DfE updated and published its policy paper on T levels.  This follows its response to the consultation on the Implementation of T levels Programmes in May 2018

T levels are an important part of the Government’s education reforms and need to be considered in the context of its wider technical education development. This includes:

  • Reviewing provision at levels 4 and 5 – and Level 2 and below
  • Developing a more effective system of support, opportunity and progression pathways for all learners
  • Industrial Strategy
  • Social Mobility - ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’
  • Improving careers guidance

Undoubtedly there will be significant opportunities for the design and technology (D&T) curriculum area and obviously D&T teachers to become involved in the teaching and development of T levels. Whilst currently most suited for delivery in further education and sixth form colleges, secondary schools and academies with post 16 provision may also be interested.  Even though many D&T teachers will not for some time if ever be involved in teaching T levels, it is very important that we are all familiar with what they offer and seek to provide.  Many of our students who complete GCSE D&T, may well go on to T levels as an alternative to A level. Also, the subject content of several of the pathways such as Construction; Creative and Design; Digital and Engineering and Manufacturing, has close links with D&T in schools.

The first 54 colleges and post-16 providers to teach new T Levels were named in May when Education Secretary Damian Hinds set out his vision for a ‘world-class’ technical education system.

The procurement exercise to identify awarding organisations (AOs) closes autumn 2018 with the announcement as to which AOs have been selected to deliver individual pathways scheduled for early spring.

The fast pace at which they are being introduced has attracted some criticism, but it is clear that great importance and significance is being placed on the role they are set to play. Different to the now withdrawn Advanced Diploma initiative, it is being made very clear that these must work and achieve what for many years has been attempted: namely the development of an alternative route to traditional academic A levels but of equal status. Time will tell.

The recently published DfE policy paper on T levels provides quick access and answers to the questions most commonly asked by teachers and others with an interest in their development and implementation.

Timeline for implementation of individual pathways

2020 - Unlimited Pathways

  • Digital
  • Construction
  • Education and Childcare

2021 - Full Routes


  • Digital
  • Construction
  • Education and Childcare
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Health and Science

2022 - Full Routes

  • Hair and Beauty
  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care
  • Business and Administrative
  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Creative and Design

Apprenticeship Only

  • Transport and Logistics
  • Sales, Marketing and Procurement
  • Social Care
  • Protective Services


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