What are T Levels? Meaning of UK qualification, what subjects does it include and how to find courses near me

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T Levels are a new qualification which offer students practical and knowledge-based learning at school or college as well as on-the-job experience

It's results day in the UK, with hundreds of thousands of students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receiving their grades for A Levels, BTEC and T Levels. Top marks are expected to fall from last year, with ministers in England aiming to restore pre-pandemic grades.

For a second year in a row students who studied T Levels will be finding out how they fared. The new qualification which was introduced in September 2020 aims to offer students the chance to learn what a real career is like while they continue their studies. However, MPs have said this may "constrict student choice".

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Around a 1,000 students received the first T Level results in August 2022, alongside the traditional A Levels. But, what exactly are T Levels, how are they graded, what subjects are available and how can you find a course near you? Here’s everything you need to know.

What are T Levels?

A T Level is a new qualification which offers students practical and knowledge-based learning at school or college as well as on-the-job experience through an industry placement of at least 315 hours. It is a nationally-recognised qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds, and it takes two years to complete T Level qualifications were created with input from employers and education providers to ensure that the courses meet the needs of industry and effectively prepare students for entry into skilled employment, an apprenticeship or technical study in further or higher education.

For the first time today, Thursday 18 August 2022, around 1,000For the first time in 2022, around 1,000 students received their T Level results - but a committee of MPs has raised concerns about them. students are receiving their T Level results.For the first time today, Thursday 18 August 2022, around 1,000For the first time in 2022, around 1,000 students received their T Level results - but a committee of MPs has raised concerns about them. students are receiving their T Level results.
For the first time today, Thursday 18 August 2022, around 1,000For the first time in 2022, around 1,000 students received their T Level results - but a committee of MPs has raised concerns about them. students are receiving their T Level results. | Getty Images

Are T Level courses available to take now?

A number of T Level courses are available for teenagers to take now, but all courses will be launched by the beginning of the 2023 academic year. The first three T Levels launched in September 2020, with a further seven introduced in September 2021. In September 2022, an additional six T Levels were launched, with the remaining seven beginning in September 2023.

What T Level subjects are there?

There are various T Level courses, and in total 24 will be available. They will be available in various subjects, covering everything from agriculture to catering and engineering to science.

The following T Level courses are available now:

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  • Building Services Engineering for Construction
  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction
  • Digital Business Services
  • Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Digital Support and Services
  • Health
  • Healthcare Science
  • Onsite Construction
  • Science
  • Accounting
  • Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • Finance
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Management and Administration

The following T Level courses will be available from September 2023:

  • Agriculture, Land Management and Production
  • Legal Services

The following T Level courses will be available from September 2024:

  • Animal Care and Management
  • Craft and Design
  • Hair, Beauty and Aesthetics
  • Media, Broadcast and Production

The following T Level courses will be available from September 2024:

  • Marketing

A T Level course in catering is also planned beyond 2024.

How do T Level qualifications work?

T Levels will become one of the main choices for students after they have taken their GCSEs. The courses require students to take both a technical qualification and complete an industry placement with an employer. The qualifications are based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute).

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How can I find a T Level course near me?

The courses are available at selected colleges, schools and other providers across England. If you, or your teenager, is interested in taking a T Level course then you can take a look at the Government website to see where they are on offer in your local area. There is a full list of providers offering T Level courses up to September 2024. You can also enter your postcode on the Government website to quickly see the T Level providers near to you.

How will T Levels be graded?

Students who complete a T Level will get a nationally recognised certificate which will show their overall grade and also a breakdown of what they have achieved. Overall, students will be given one of four grades, but also an individual grade for the technical qualification and the industry placement.

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

Will T Levels be worth UCAS points and be an entry point to university?

For students who are hoping to go on and study at university after studying a T Level, these courses will be recognised by universities and other education providers.

Each T Level is worth the following UCAS points.

  • A T Level Distinction* is worth the same as three A Levels at A*
  • A T Level Distinction is worth the same as three A Levels at A
  • A T Level Merit is worth the same as three A Levels at B
  • A T Level Pass (C or above on the core) is worth the same as three A Levels at C
  • A T Level Pass (D or E on the core) is worth the same as three A Levels at D

What has the government said about T Levels?

Back in April, a committee of MPs warned that more time is needed to determine if a new qualification known as a T Level is effective before replacing traditional qualifications. The House of Commons Education Select Committee spoke out on Friday 28 April, and said that government plans to end some applied general qualifications (AGQ) in favour of T Levels should not go ahead until there is evidence proving T-levels were more effective in preparing students for “progression, meeting industry needs and promoting social mobility”, according to Schools Week.

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Robin Walker, a former schools minister who now chairs the committee, told Schools Week: “We have concerns about the feasibility of scaling up T Levels, and, as it stands, the planned withdrawal of AGQs will constrict student choice and could deepen the skills shortages that these reforms are meant to fix.”

In response, the Department for Education told NationalWorld: "Our post-16 qualifications system provides a ladder of opportunity for young people from all backgrounds, so every qualification leads to a rewarding career, either through higher education or skilled work. We welcome the Committee’s recognition of the importance of our reforms. We will consider the recommendations and respond in due course.”

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