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Ofsted report on quality of T-levels

Today, Ofsted has published an interim report that evaluates the quality of new T-level courses, giving them insight into the qualities of the providers, as well as the challenges being faced following the introduction of the qualification.

As part of the first stage of a two-year evaluation of the courses, the report draws on evidence from visits to 24 providers between December 2021 and April 2022. The report found that learners were appreciative of the quality of the teaching on offer, however many of them felt unprepared for the amount of work required.

Thanks to the nature of the courses and work experience being a fundamental component of the programme, learners were also able to gain high-quality, career-appropriate experiences to help them make more informed decisions about their potential future career path. Another challenge faced was related to this, with many learners experiencing delays in going on these placements.

Amanda Spielman, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, said:

“It’s clear that T-level courses are giving learners career-building pathways. The right balance of theory and practical elements helps learners gain the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to enter the workforce. However, we have also identified a number of concerns that need to be addressed.

“I am looking forward to seeing the progress providers have made at our next visits in 2023, and to see the additional courses added into the scheme in the next few years.”

The interim report from Ofsted recommends that all providers of T-levels and T-Level Transition Programmes do the following:

  • Provide initial advice to learners before they start a T-level course to help them decide which pathway to follow.
  • Collaborate with employers to make sure the design and delivery off the curriculum is of a high quality.
  • Make sure that the curriculum sequences the different components of a T-level in a coherent way that develops leaners’ knowledge and skills.
  • Reduce delays to learners work placements.
  • Ensure that learners in the transition programme get relevant work experience.
  • Monitor learners’ achievements and progress and the impact of work placements on their knowledge and skills.

Ofsted has also recommended that employers should provide placements that give the learner an experience relevant to their T-level, as well as suggesting that the Department for Education should evaluate the effectiveness of the transition programme when helping learners progress to the T-level courses. They should also work with universities to ensure that they accept T-levels for entry to courses where they are relevant.

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