S - Z

Sector Subject Area (SSA): The Sector Subject Area (SSA) classification system is used to classify qualifications into sectors or subject areas. 


16-19 Study Programme: All students funded through the 16 to 19 funding methodology must be enrolled on a study programme, or T Level programme, which typically combines qualifications and other activities, and is tailored to each student’s prior attainment and career goals. All study programmes must have a core aim. This will be tailored to the needs of the individual and typically include a substantial qualification (academic or technical) or preparation for employment.


Technical Additional Specialist Qualifications: These are specialist level 3 technical qualifications for post 16 students and adults, which go beyond the contents of an occupational standard and allows a student to develop additional knowledge and competencies and specialise within a sector. These qualifications will build on knowledge covered by a T Level or other occupational entry.


Technical Education: Technical education encompasses any training, such as qualifications and apprenticeships, that focuses on progression into skilled employment and requires the acquisition of both a substantial body of technical knowledge and a set of practical skills valued by industry. Technical education covers provision from level 2 (the equivalent of GCSEs at A* to C or 9 to 4) to higher education (level 6) but it differs from A Levels and other academic options in that it draws its purpose from the workplace rather than an academic discipline. References to technical education also include qualifications that many would call “vocational”, especially qualifications at the lower levels of difficulty.


Technical Employer Proposed Qualifications: Designed for adults, these qualifications are designed to deliver competence for occupations without a standard, but where there is employer demand.


Technical Occupational Entry qualifications (TOQs: level 3 and level 2): These are qualifications delivering competence against an occupational standard not covered by T Levels at level 3 for 16-19-year-olds and all occupational standards for adults. These qualifications aim to support a student to enter, or to progress within, a role. At level 2, these can be two different sizes and at level 3 can be any size.


Technical Progression Qualifications: Technical progression qualifications are a level 2 qualification designed for students who are not ready to progress directly to level 3 technical study immediately after Key Stage 4. They aim to support a student to progress to, and succeed on, a level 3 occupational entry qualification.


Technical Qualifications:  Technical qualifications will be based on the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) set out in the occupational standards, co-designed with employers and approved by IfATE.


T Levels: T Levels are designed for post-16 students wishing to specialise in a specific industry or occupation. They are an alternative to A levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses. Equivalent in size to 3 A levels, they develop specialist knowledge and skills that are primarily designed to support progression to skilled employment/ further technical training, based on IfATE’s employer-led occupational standards. Students will undertake an industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation.


T Level Foundation Qualifications (TLFQs): T Level Foundation Qualifications (TLFQs) are a level 2 qualification. Their purpose is to support progression onto level 3 technical study through T Levels. T level foundation qualifications provide a high-quality route onto T Levels for students who would benefit from the additional study time and preparation that it will give them before they start their T Level.


T Level wave overlap lists: This refers to the list of existing qualifications that will have public funding removed for 16-19-year-olds in either 2024 or 2025 as they have been assessed to overlap with a T Level. A qualification overlaps with a T Level if it is a technical qualification which covers the same content standard covered by a T Level and aims to support students into employment in the same occupational area. Find links to the lists here (link to key documents page).

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