T Levels update 30th January 2024

Firstly, we would like to thank you for your hard work and support as we continue to roll out T Levels.

We are writing to inform you of changes to the Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level and share information about the provisional list of qualifications which have been assessed to overlap with the wave 4 T Levels in delivery from September.

Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy T Level

As you know, employers are front and centre of our T Level programme. All T Levels are designed by and with employers to ensure the skills needs of industry are met and that learners have the best possible routes to employment, apprenticeships, or further study. Following our announcement in March 2023, the Department has engaged intensively with hairdressing and beauty employers and sector representatives to discuss their skills needs.

This engagement has given us a clear message. In Beauty, the sector has told us that a good quality level 3 classroom-based progression route is desirable. Therefore, the government will explore introducing a T Level which focuses on the beauty sector, with the expectation that this could be introduced after 2025. Feedback from employers in hairdressing and barbering has been different. They have told us unequivocally that the best route for learners into their industry is through completion of an existing
apprenticeship or through level 2 classroom-based provision that will get them into the salon faster than a 2-year level 3 programme. As such, we will no longer be introducing the combined HBBT T Level.

We are taking steps to raise funding for apprenticeships in these industries: we recently introduced a 57% funding uplift for the Level 2 Hairdressing Professional standard (from £7,000 to £11,000) and the Level 2 Barbering apprenticeship also received a 28% funding uplift (from £7,000 to £9,000).

We appreciate this decision will be difficult for some of you who have already taken steps to prepare for the HBBT rollout.

We know that you will have put considerable effort into preparing to deliver this T Level and have been marketing the qualification to prospective students, who will now need to find an alternative option. We know you will support them in doing so, and resources produced by the Department and skills partners are available to support post-16 destination choices.

We are holding a webinar on Thursday 1st February from 12.30-1.15 where we will be happy to field questions and discuss this further. You can join the meeting by registering through this form by close of play of Wednesday 31st January. For providers who had been planning on delivering HBBT this year and have any more time-sensitive questions, we will also be holding a short drop-in call for those who can make it today (30th January) at 4.00- 4.30pm. Please register by 3pm today for this by filling in this form.

T Level Foundation Year

We recognise that some providers have also been developing T Level Foundation Year (TLFY) programmes for the Hair and Beauty route. Some of these are already running. The decision not to roll out the HBBT T Level will mean that, from September 2024, there will be no T Level Foundation Year
for the Hair and Beauty route. Students currently on this Foundation Year should complete their programme and use this as the basis to progress through other available pathways, including apprenticeships.


Funding Implications

Where providers recently told us they planned to offer the HBBT T Level this year via the October T Level Data Collection, we will remove that T Level from the information provided as we start to calculate 16-19 funding allocation. 
Providers will be receiving the normal lagged 16-19 funding for their students (without the T Level uplift) and should use this to support those who switch to alternative courses.

Where providers have already received a Specialist Equipment Allocation (SEA) and/or have a Buildings and Facilities Improvement project (BFIG) in relation to HBBT, we will permit these to continue and allow you to retain the grant. Where you have a BFIG grant for HBBT and have not yet received SEA, we will allocate this to ensure you can use your building.


Continued T Level rollout

We are pleased to say that feedback from employers involved in the other T Levels in development has been positive. We remain on track to deliver in September 2024 the T Levels in Media, Broadcast and Production, Craft and Design, and Animal Care and Management, as well as the Marketing T Level in September 2025. As previously set out we are working through ensuring the Catering T Level meets the needs of the sector for delivery after 2024.


Publication of the provisional list of qualifications which overlap with Wave 4 T Levels

Today, we have also published the provisional list of qualifications that have been assessed to overlap with Wave 4 T Levels. The T Levels in question are in Agriculture, Land Management and Production; Animal Care and Management; Craft and Design; Legal Services; and Media, Broadcast and Production. There are 71 qualifications on the list, which you can find at this link

Subject to the outcomes of an appeal process which gives awarding organisations the opportunity to contest a qualification’s placement on the list, we will withdraw 16-19 public funding for new starts on these qualifications from 1 August 2025.

We want to provide categorical assurance – as Minister Halfon did in his letter to all providers last term – that the department remains fully committed to the roll out of T Levels, particularly in light of the announcement about plans to introduce the Advanced British Standard (ABS). As the Minister said, T Levels will form the backbone of the ABS and the technical aspects will be closer to the T Level than any other qualification. This means that T Levels are the most future proof qualification for students at 16-19, with T Levels only introduced where they fully meet the skills needs of industry and the progression needs of learners.

If you would like to speak further about any of the matters raised in this announcement, please join our webinar or contact your DfE relationship manager or email TLevel.delivery@education.gov.uk.

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