Introduction to the T Level Foundation Year - webinar

This webinar explains what the T Level Transition Programme (now named the T Level Foundation Year) is and how it works. The webinar was delivered on 21 January 2021.

Video length: 59 minutes 30 seconds

Video transcript

Right, excellent okay let's get started then.

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to our session on the T Level transition program. This is one of many sessions that we've been running for our T Level providers to make sure that you all feel completely up to date with what's going on, and also that we cover some of the areas that you've requested more information on. And have the opportunity to ask questions and to learn from other providers, so a really important part of the webinars that we do is that sharing of practice. So that's what we plan to do today.

So today is as I said, all around about the T Level transition program. My name is Lynne Tabone. I am leading the work with providers on implementing T Levels on the ground, so I work with a team of people who you speak to on a regular basis from the ESFA.

Now with us today we have three people who are going to give you some of the slides in the presentation and give you some, some support on that. One of them is Julie Toher, who works in our transition program team, and she'll be telling you about the transition program, how it works and the progress that we're making towards that and what next. Julie if you're there perhaps you'd want to give a wave, I hope you're there?

I am indeed, yes.

Excellent, right just checking, jolly good - always good to make sure we haven't lost anyone and also, we have two of our providers who are helping us today by telling you about their experiences of developing a T Level transition program ready for delivery in 2020. So, on the line we should have Danny Brett from Bishop Burton college.

Are you there Danny?

Hey I am. Afternoon everybody,

Excellent. Good afternoon, and Matt Reynolds from Cirencester college.

Good afternoon, hi everybody thanks for joining us.

Jolly good, thanks Matt.

Okay so a few housekeeping things - the obvious stuff - please put yourself on mute if you're not speaking. There is a chat function that opens on your right-hand side as you're looking at the screen, and you can access that through the icon at the top of the page. If you can as we go through, if you can put all of your questions in there, that will be really helpful. What we're going to do is we're going to go through all of the presentations, and then we're going to take questions at the end. But if we can collect them as we go through, then we'll know what we've got to answer. We did also get some questions sent to us up ahead, and we'll include all of those at the end as well. So, uh I think we've talked about all of the things that we need to in terms of the housekeeping stuff, so let's move on to Julie who's going to talk to us about the T Levels uh transition program.

Thank you, thanks Lynne.

Okay, so yeah so the purpose of today is to uh to introduce you to the purpose and the features of the transition program. Uh, we seem to have lost the slides or can other people see the slides?

No, they've disappeared I'm afraid.

We've got a blank screen there.

Okay. I think if we can try and get the slides out. I'll carry on talking at the moment so yeah so, we're going to talk about the purpose and features of the transition program, enable you to hear from two of our current transition programme providers as Lynne has just introduced - Danny and Matt, and provide information for you on how your institution can get involved, and then as Lynne said allow some time for questions at the the end. So, it looks like we're getting our slides back - so that's great. Okay, so, if we can move on to the next slide the background slide, please - that's lovely. Okay, so back in 2016, the century panel who published their report on technical education, introduced the uh the suggestion of a transition year for students who weren't quite ready to access a technical route at age 16. As you know T Levels are central to our technical education reforms, and they are stretching level three programs. We wanted to make sure that as many young people as possible can actually access and benefit from T Levels, but as the Sainsbury Panel identified and as we all know, not all of them will be ready to do that at age 16.

Next slide please.

So the transition program, has been designed to provide a tailored program that providers can deliver to their students who are wanting to do a T Level - really keen to do a T Level, but need a bit of extra support to get there. And that they would be able to get to the point of being able to start and successfully work through a T Level within about a year of where they are now.

The transition programme is a study program, a 16 to 19 study programme. So it's, um, it's subject to study programme rules and study programme funding rules. But it's specifically focused on progression to T Levels. So rather than being a more broadly sort of focused progression route to level three, we want it to be particularly focused on getting young people to the point where they can start a T Level. It will have nationally set, or it has nationally set components, within which there's some local flexibility to enable providers to tailor their particular program to the students we have.

We seem to have lost the slides again.

So, we've lost the slides, again.

I'm sorry I don't know what's happening. It just keeps switching them off. Just a moment, I'll do it again, sorry.

No problem, we will be circulating the slides afterwards, um anyway I think it's uh that's the the right uh right thing so uh so yeah so if uh if you don't catch all of them you'll be able to to catch up afterwards. Okay. So um yeah, so as I said the uh there will be nationally set components within the transition program within which providers will have some flexibility to develop their uh their own local program to meet their local needs.

Next slide please, Vicci (if possible).

Okay, so these are the core components. I'm sorry this slide hasn't come out very well, but basically there are five components that each transition program has to have - although the sort of relative combinations of them might be might be different uh for different providers, and different student groups. So the first thing you'll see is a diagnostic period and that's to help the young person to identify where they uh where their learning needs are and also which T Levels they are interested in, which ones they want to follow. That's particularly interesting important this year I think, because of the fact that providers haven't had their normal sort of recruitment uh processes um and uh and because of the centrally assessed grades, has made that section particularly important. There's an English and Math component because we know that's a key barrier for many young people to work to progression, work experience, and work related learning - to prepare them for the industry placement which obviously is a large part of the T Level. Some introductory technical skills, basically just to give them a bit of a leg up on on the the very basics that they will need for their uh their transition for their T Level programme, and finally pastoral support and personal development to help address any other barriers that they've got to um to learning.

Okay, next slide please.

So, to help providers fit all those together and consider other aspects of the programme, we've published some delivery guidance. When we were doing very early consultation, about what a transition program might look like, providers did say that they would need that local flexibility but they would welcome some guidance on the nationally set elements of the programme within which to uh, to form a framework to work. So, so the framework deliverer for delivery is published and is available online - setting out the the minimum requirements we we expect from the program. We are working with the current providers, and taking lessons from their early preparation and delivery to help us to uh to sort of define the uh the program going forward, and if we do make any changes to the program and when we make changes to the program, these will all be updated through the uh, framework and we'll make sure that uh, that we publicise widely that we've uh, we've published a new new version of that.

Okay, next slide please Vicci.

Okay, so just moving on to, to what we're doing now and to get to the interesting bit where where you're actually hearing from from Danny and Matt. We're taking a phased implementation approach, to developing the program so we're starting small and we're, we're building up um momentum as we we get more providers and more T Level routes and pathways on, on board. So at the moment we're working with volunteer 2020 and 2021 T Level providers, so the 2020 T Level providers, in the main, undertook a preparation year in September 2019 to 2020, and started delivering their transition programs for the first time in September 2020. We're working with 32 of those providers, and then we've got another 42 providers who are working through their preparation here at the moment, with a view to delivering their transition programs for the first time from 2021. To help them do this the Association of Colleges are running a delivery support program on our behalf, where they are working with all of these providers, to help them and support them to develop and deliver their own transition programs that includes things like one-to-one support, and challenge - a number of national events that that they can all all join to to discuss and find out more about relevant topics, a number of webinars, and also peer support networks as well. So there's a whole range of activity and support there that the the providers are able to to hook into. And as well as working through the core components then looking at a number of other aspects of the programmes, for example, how you identify your target cohort? What mix of provision is right? Do you have some may have more English and Maths in their program - some might focus more on technical skills for example. How you actually certificate the uh the program at a, a local level so there's there's lots and lots going on in terms of exploration and development of the programme. But I could talk about that all day, and it wouldn't be as interesting as if a couple of our providers actually told you what it's like on the ground.

So, with that I'm going to hand over to Danny Brett from Bishop Burton College and say, welcome Danny.

Thank you, Julie.

Afternoon everybody, my name is Danny Brett, I'm the Assistant Principal at Bishop Burton College. I've also got the pleasure of strategic lead for transition and T Level implementation for the College. So hopefully in the next six slides, I'll be able to give you an insight into our journey so far.

Just to the next slide please Vicci.

So just to give a little bit of context - we are a specialist land based college, we have three campuses across two regions, around about 27 million pound turnover, to give some context around the size of the college. We deliver a range of vocational technical work based HE qualifications subjects from equine business management through to art and design, animal management and sport, and from this September, we started to deliver education and child care T Level and transition program. Thank you.

Next slide please Vicci.

So I thought it was really important that from the first slide, we gave you an insight into why we chose to deliver T Levels and transition program. And I wanted to give you an honest overview. So I think the the first big reason for us as a college was the chance to be at the forefront of the next big curriculum reform. We did genuinely feel that that was the case and we wanted to make the most of that opportunity. We also believe that in the early stages it would give us an opportunity for our voice as a college and as a region to be heard and I have to say the consultation processes throughout the past two years have been really strong and really reinforced my belief that there is a lot of listening going on. So I think that's really important that any feedback that you've got throughout this full process is, is shared because it will be listened to. We recognised it would support us in raising the profile of our college on a national scale. I've had the the pleasure to deliver a range of different conferences and events, nationally as a by-product of obviously T Levels and the transition program has a range of colleagues as well, so that's that's been fantastic for us. We also felt that the support provided in those early stages of development would help us build the capacity into T Levels and the transition program in a more comfortable time frame, and ultimately we believed in the concept of T Levels and transition program in those very early stages, and I think that's been really important in our success so far, is retaining that belief even when uh situations we'll find ourselves in now can be so uncertain - but maintaining that belief.

Next slide please Vicci.

So in terms of our transition program, we started by sitting down and deciding what would be our key pillars. What we're going to build the transition program around. Obviously, you've seen the framework for delivery that Julie's already shared with us, but we wanted an offer that was appealing to students, parents and guardians. We wanted the offer to be accessible, and we also didn't want to consolidate what potentially might be an already negative experience. If a student had applied for a T Level and didn't receive the grades that they were hoping for, they would be moving on to a transition program and we didn't want that to be seen as a negative. So just moving on to to the box underneath I'll explain how how each of those points came to fruition for us. So key focuses is to prepare students for a T Level model, and in that regard we have mapped our transition program against the key components of a T Level, and directly against the framework for delivery for the transition program. And that's with the aim of developing those hard and soft skill sets in the classroom and on industry placement. One of the key the key points which Julie's already highlighted reframing students mindsets around Maths and English, which we believed would definitely be a contributor if a student wasn't to achieve the grades needed for a T Level and, and obviously as it turned out that was the case with our transition program and T Level students. But we wanted to make sure that was really working hard with our employer partner, with the students, with the teaching teams to contextualise that Maths and English - to support that reframing.

The diagnostic and guidance period.

We very firmly believe that we wanted to assess each student on a case-by-case basis, we wanted to make sure that we recognised each of their individual circumstances and support needs, and reflect that in the way that we engage with the students on the transition program. I touch on that a little bit later. But I think that is very important when we're looking at a group of students who would fit into this qualification space, and especially when we look at what we're preparing them for which is obviously a T Level program. Which is, as Julia's rightly said, a stretch in level three program.

Technical skill and professional behaviour development.

We've provided, there is a question in the chat I have seen that, we've provided a qualification related primary learning aim, and obviously that qualification for us is a NCFE cash level 2 certificate in caring for young caring for children and young people. We believed that that was a more marketable offer, for us, as a college. We also believe that buyers being able to certificate a recognised qualification. On completion of the transition program, it would cater for those students who maybe didn't want to go into a T Level program which with the full intention for us to support them to get there. But if their decision changed along the way it was still a meaningful learning experience for that student, and that was really important to us.

And then into the industry placement and the real working environment.

We wanted to tailor our industry placement experiences. So we have still maintained an industry placement model within our transition program lessened the value of hours somewhat because of the the pro rata-ness of the of the qualification. We also did that, so we didn't replicate industry placement experiences on a T Level. So we wanted a step change there, we want a real distinct step change. We've done that in conjunction with our employer partner, and we have also used our T Level and transition program childcare centre of excellence which is a real working environment around a nursery setting, to make sure that we can support students on a formative and summative basis to build the soft and hard skill sets needed within employment. Thank you.

Next slide please, Vicci.

Just want to touch on the support. Something that we found super useful as we've progressed through our journey, was the support that's been provided and I couldn't emphasise enough; anybody who wants to engage with the transition program or at a T Level, please do engage with that support. And obviously one of the things that's supported our trajectory, has been the the variety of different supports. I've listed a few there - obviously, flexible support for individual providers, a range of face-to-face regional and national events (although circumstances have changed since then). We've also had a variety of online webinars etc. And a number of opportunities to attend route specific technical development groups - and I think from that, I've been able either royal eye, the teams have been able to develop a range of partnerships with other providers, who are in similar situations - that's been really beneficial for us.

Next slide please, Vicci.

So just to give you a little insight into the current state of play. Currently, 25 students enrolled - slightly under double what we'd originally anticipated. We have had some movement between our T Level and transition program during that extended induction period. And that's been a by-product of that assessment of a student's individual circumstances. And that's really important to us. Qualifications, absolutely that we've got to take those into consideration but we've also got to take into consideration the students past circumstances.

Student satisfaction so far? Our entry and induction survey: excellent at 99 percent. There's a false smile on my face that it wasn't 100 percent, but we're still really pleased with that, with that 99 percent.

Delivery model for industry placement.

We've had to amend that due to the impact of the pandemic. And that's now been amended to factor for lockdown periods etc. Support of students has also been revised to cater for remote working - so we've increased touch points with students. Nothing to do with their teaching per se, more about monitoring and supporting and managing their, their lockdown stresses. And we've also increased engagement with parents for the same reason. Staff have responded brilliantly I couldn't, I couldn't come to any event like this and not sing the praises of the staff - they've been absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Especially as a by-product of pandemic that, the staff really and truly have understood what a student is going through during this period of time. And are continuing to work with the students to make sure that we can still provide the best possible remote working experience for our students in the current circumstances. Some student reluctance to use public transport to access their industry placement throughout not necessarily lockdowns, but the the tiered system etc, when it was when movement was freer in that regard. And we've worked with that, we've worked with students parents, guardians and our student services team to obviously support ways around that. And our employer relationship has remained strong, and mutually beneficial and I would put that down to regular communication between both parties.

Next slide please, Vicci.

So my final slide - just a few top tips.

If I could give any advice, I would definitely say be engaged and that's be engaged with the support, that's being engaged with your regional providers who are delivering T Levels in the smaller regionalised communities of practice. Be engaged with implementation planning and I know that's more around at T Levels etc. But any sort of transition program plans - please be engaged. I would definitely say. Plan early. I think even though we might think oh, I'll leave it a little bit because that might change. We was definitely in that position as well, and it was easier for us to iterate our plans as it was to generate the plans. Fully utilise the support provided - I've touched on. Get buy-in from the top - that's a really important one for us as well. I got great support from the board, great support from the principal because they was fully aware of what progress we was making at all times, and also equally aware of the challenges because that's generally when you need the support. We created key moments with marketing potential that really helped us in those early stages when there was a lack of understanding or awareness of transition programs and T Levels. so I would definitely recommend that. Make the most of those lateral benefits to your students’ organisation and region as well. So, I'm sure there'll be lots of lateral benefits there whether that be CPD, whether that be support communities of practice, and ultimately if you do what's right for the student - you you really can't go too far wrong. And obviously two areas that we've received particular praise for has been implementation planning and employer engagement. So that that's my take on transition programme so far - really pleased. I'd just like to pass you on to Matt Reynolds, my colleague, who is going to take you through their experiences of transition programmes so far.

Over to Matt.

Thanks Danny, I appreciate that.

Nice one. Cheers. Hello everybody, my name is Matt Reynolds and I'm the Vice Principal at Cirencester Yet-T College, in the Cotswolds, and we are running all three of the T Levels in this sort of an induction year, plus a transition program. So, what I'm really going to talk to you about today, is, is how we've gone about modelling the transition program - about the opportunities that that's presented for us as a, as a college. We call it our Yet-T program - as in, you're not quite ready for your T Level yet. I think you're sort of free to call your transition program what you like. We've been working as a college, we've been working with the department, and with the AoC for the last 18 months or two years perhaps, on the development of T Levels, and I think as Danny said earlier actually, there are lots of opportunities to get involved with development and I think it's been a really rewarding and collaborative experience. Working both with the Department for Education and with the AoC, in development of these programs. So, if you get the opportunity to get involved, I would say certainly take it because there are some some really great chances here to, to be a genuine part of developing the future of education.

Can I have the next slide please, Vicci.

Okay, so I'm going to just going to talk you through basically essentially our basic outline model for how we've drawn this course together. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility in how you can create this course. Now this is a bit of a double-edged sword, in some in some respects, it can be quite scary for some staff if they're having to design a course from scratch. For others, they will absolutely relish the opportunity of being able to develop a course, right from the start. One of the things I think when you're building a course is to recognise what it's for. And in the case of a transition program, you know it is very much a vehicle to get students into T Level, and it's important not to to lose sight of that. Also, our thinking about is, is very much a study program as a whole. We when designing the transition program at Cirencester, we really wanted it to be like a wrapper of a whole sort of experience for the student to prepare them for T Level. Catherine Cezanne said a couple of years ago that it's worth remembering that no existing qualification has been designed with T Levels in mind. And I think that's very true. What we didn't want to do is just take our old level 2 VOC program and sort of repackage it and say that's our transition program. Basically, those old level two quals on their own were not going to cut it when it comes to preparing students for T Levels. If any of you've looked at T Level specs, you will understand and know you know what the demands of a T Level are. And so a transition program designed to prepare students for T Level is something quite special in itself. So, all of the different components of our course are aspects of preparing students for that ultimate goal,

Can I have the next slide please, Vicci.

So one of a couple of key points in our model really. The first one is this diagnostic and guidance period. We found like, like many of you will know you if you work in a sixth form college or an FE college, students come to you generally from school planning to do level three programs. Many students in this case will be planning to do a T Level and then coming results day will find that they didn't have what they were hoping for to do a T Level. And so you can end up collecting a group of students on a level two course, with a whole bunch of issues, and certainly many of them will have feelings that they failed their their school year. So this period is critical really - one, for making students feel like they're welcome, involved, part of a family of students that have a common aim, but also about making sure the right people are on the right program. And for us, we run a kind of like a carousel system, where students joining us at level two get to sample a number of courses before they finally decide on their options. And since we've run this type of model, we have our retention rates have gone up in the extreme. I think we had one or maybe two students that we lost in this first year, which is you know, you'll recognise yourselves if you do this that's that's a pretty good rate hanging on to students from a level two program. So I think the diagnostic period is certainly key to success.

Can I have the next slide please, Vicci.

The other thing that we've had, is trying to send create this sense of belonging. It's really important to us that students coming into the program don't feel that they've been kind of fielded onto this I failed school course - which I think sometimes, level two packages can feel like. So what we have is with our tutorial program which is one of the key spines running through the year is designed specifically for T Level. Also, all of our level two T Level students are in tutor groups with the existing T Level students, so they are already part of the T Level family if you like, and they are connected with and seeing daily - students that that are the people they aspire to be or working on the programs that they aspire to do. So, straight away they're not in a separate group necessarily to their tutorial and support network, they are very much a part of the programme.

Can I have the next slide please, Vicci.

Another system ,some of you may have heard of this. This is Martin Griffin and Steve Oakes system called VESPA. Which is part of our tutorial program. We've used this for about two or three years now. There are all sorts of systems that students can use that are sort of reflective practice, if you like, to help them analyse their behaviours as students and so on - to try and make them more successful. The thing we found with VESPA, is that it really works. The sort of proof is in the pudding, and I think so many of the exercises they do in VESPA creates meaningful targets and so on, after the exercises was to help students develop. And a lot of the behaviours that we developed through VESPA, are essentially key behaviours for being a successful T Level student.

Can I have the next slide please, Vicci.

So really that if we look at the bottom half obviously students are able to take their Maths and English GCSES again. But it's also trying to design like I say this whole wrapper, this whole program which feels like it's part of getting students ready to do their T Level. So clearly, obviously, we have our work experience built in there. But we're also offering students either EPQ or FPQ more likely, so that they can specialise. This is an individual research project. Now this has been fantastic, because imagine you are a student who was planning on doing the construction T Level, and you don't quite make the grade, and you end up on the transition course. Well in this case you can choose to specialise with a construction research project, so you are already working on the same themes the same areas that you plan to then take on into your T Level. So part of your study program is already in that specialism you want to study. Equally, a lot of the skills development work again is shared with T Level students on the level three, and also trips...One of the things we were really keen on was getting so much of the T Levels immersive, to get students sort of exposure to the workplace and so on, was to get the level two students involved on the same trips as the level three. So for example, if the level two/three group are going to see a building project, then the level two students that are planning on doing construction can do that trip too. And it's not a problem for when they go on and eventually do the T Level, because obviously that following year, a new building project will be the the case study that we're using or whatever. So basically, these whole elements make it feel very much like it's purposeful and meaningful - allowing students to specialise in the thing that they want to do, and also it's sort of designed to make them like I say feel part of the family.

Could have the next slide please, Vicci.

So in our, I, I guess you know just sort of summarise from, from our part, I think if you're looking at designing and building a transition program, there is an awful lot of freedom in how you design it and and what you actually want it to look like for your college. There's also, as Danny said earlier, a lot of support which is fantastic. And it's, it's really genuine and like I say a collaborative effort, so I would advise you to take full advantage of all the various support mechanisms that are in place. A couple of key bullet points here. One is, do recognise that this is something completely new - it's such a rare opportunity. I mean we often revise schemes of work when new specs come out or whatever, but this is brand new. It's recognising that old level two programs on their own are not going to be enough for T Level. This is a this is a new vision if you like, a whole new approach to vocational education, yeah. I think you need to think about that when setting up a student in the transition year. Having an open mind too. I think commonly, what's happening here is a lot of teachers who are going to teach A Levels or transition are going to be your normal VOC teachers, and the first thing that they usually do, is pick up the specification have a look through it and think "oh this is like unit one in the BTEC," "and this is like unit seven in the BTEC," and you look at it through the lens of what you know. T levels require, I think, an open mind. In a way you need to park the old VOC quals, and look at T Levels with an open mind to really see what they're capable of. As a result, I think you may have to train some staff too. Not many staff are used to designing courses from scratch. It's a skill, and it's a developing skill and I think for some staff you'll certainly need to help them when it comes to how to model and design programs. It's not something that many staff are actually exposed to in reality. And then finally, I would just say this is a fantastic opportunity. It really is I think that's why we were keen to jump in at an early stage, is because we felt, like Danny said, it's a chance to be in on this this brand-new gold standard that's coming out, and to have some be a part of it and be able to influence it. We found it really rewarding so far and the feedback from the students has been superb and it really does feel meaningful and relevant. So, essentially that's our that's been our approach, open-minded and as a whole study program - rather than focusing on individual quals. Anyway, I think I hand you over to back to Julie now who's going to cover some some further aspects.

Yep, thank you - thanks so much to Matt and Danny there for those really practical insights and the advice that you've given. And just to say that from our perspective it's been a real pleasure working with you and all the other T Level providers over the last couple of years, and seeing how, how you're developing your programs and everything - it really brings it all to life - so thank you for that. So yeah, so plans for delivery from September 2022. We know a number of you have already been thinking about delivering a transition programme, hopefully this afternoon will have helped you, some more of you decide to either you do want to or it's not for you which is perfectly fine but hopefully more of you think it is for you. So yeah, so if you're, if you're looking at signing up to deliver from 2022, the things you need to know...

The first thing is that, you will start your preparation year from September 2021. We'll be doing a bit of earlier engagement on that which I'll come on to in a moment. And all 2022 T Level providers, and those 2020 and 2021 providers who are not currently developing or delivering a transition program, are eligible to, to actually sign up to develop a transition program for delivery for the first time from 2022. The main proviso is that you must be delivering a T Level in the same routes and pathways as you want to deliver your your transition program, so that's the the main criteria there. If you do sign up with us you will have access to the delivery support program - which I touched on earlier in which both Matt and Danny have mentioned. So the AOC are running that for us. We expect that it will include regular contact with a allocated relationship manager. Lots of support and challenge through the one-to-one conversations you have with them, and through group working national events, webinars, peer support - that kind of thing. so you will have have access to all that support if you're signing up.

Next slide please, Vicci.

So final slide here. So what you need to do if you are interested in getting involved. The first thing um that that you need to do is to complete your ESFA planning returns, and the statistical annex that sets out which programs you plan to work to deliver, and the numbers of students in those. And I believe that the next return is due the first of May. They might be able to work to confirm that for us, but certainly sometime in April or May that is due to come in. So yes, so indicating that that you're wanting to develop your transition programme. We are going to be running some engagement events, some early engagement events - probably towards the end of March, to find out, to allow you to find out more about the commitment and you'll be undertaking by signing up to deliver your programme, and to also find out more about the support program, and the help you will get through that. And then following that, we will just get in touch with you just to confirm if you are going to, going to join us, and and deliver a program and that will enable us to link you up with the the Association of Colleges and to allocate you a relationship manager to start to help you think through your your early plans and thoughts on how you might develop your program. Just say, that all those, those events and invitations will be advertised in the fortnightly T Level newsletter, and that will also be found on our new website, the Support with Delivering T Levels website. So, if you've not had a look at that yet and there's a link in the slides and I'd really recommend that you go and have a look at that.

And if you walk to next slide, Vicci - that's it from me. So, I'll hand back to Lynne, for us to take some of your questions.

Thank you, Julie, and a big thank you to you, to Danny, and to Matt for that. That's really helpful.

Now we've got quite a few questions in the chat, so I will, I'll just get to those, and I also have some that have been sent in ahead. Some of those are covered in here anyway, but we'll get through them all hopefully. We've got about 15 minutes, so hopefully we'll get through them all. So the first one is, in readiness for starting in 2022, can we offer a transition program from 2021?

Now as you would just have heard from Julie, that's a no really, because you need to have been involved in the development for 2021 to be ready for 2021 and that started last summer. So if you're joining ready for 2022, delivery of T Levels, then you are able to join the transition program work this spring, ready to start developing for 2022. Then we have..hang on a second, just scrolling down, there was a question about whether providers are offering recognised level two qualifications. Now Danny has responded and said what they're doing at Bishop Burton. There is a mixture of things going on aren't there Julie? Do you want to mention something about this? About the the the qualifications, non-qualification stuff?

Absolutely yes! So in these first couple of rounds of the development of the program, providers have chosen whether they develop deliver a qualification based technical skills component or a non-qualification one. What we found is that very few are not delivering any qualification at all but a number have decided that they're going to use a small qualification, and I think as both Matt and Danny said, you know they've they've struggled to find sort of you know a level two qualification that fits exactly with the preparation for T Levels. So, in many cases, providers might have used some units from qualifications, or as I say, you know some smaller qualifications as well. Some have used a full qualification, and we're looking at how that's working. So that's something that we are well sort of you know keeping an eye on and, and watching through the department, with a view to kind of, you know helping to perhaps put some more, more defined guidance out around that in in the future, and you know, not necessarily saying you must use this qualification or you must use that qualification - but certainly you know these are the things that you would want to be looking at when you're choosing the the qualifications to to use.

Thank you, Julie.

There was some discussion in the chat about how much flexibility there was on the program, and I think the presentation that we've had makes clear there's quite a lot, and so does the commentary in the chat where people have been sharing that there is quite a lot of flex, and Richard Billington has posted something about the importance of Maths and English as a big part of their programme.

Let me see what else have we got here. We've got some answers from Danny to the questions that were asked about whether the transition program was replacing existing level two programs for for that cohort, which he said yes. And there was there's some discussion there about progression from the T Level into sorry, the transition program into T Level, and that being obviously dependent on how the student does in terms of the the progress with the T Level and with English and Maths as well.

What other questions do we have? What numbers have been rolled onto enrolled, onto the programmes at both organisations? Danny I think you said 25 for bishop burton didn't you?

We've got 22 students at the moment

22, sorry.

I'm telling the lie, I'm telling a lie - it's 25.

Oh right, I thought I saw...

I've just recruited another three, just in the interim, yeah - apologies my fault.

Matt, I don't know how many you've got at Cirencester?

Yeah, we're on, we're on, I think it's 27 at the moment, on the transition programme - so...

So quite considerable groups really. 

Yeah, I think we were we really were unsure at the start of what sort of numbers to expect, and then obviously with the CAG situation in schools, a lot of people had different GCSE grades, and they thought they were going to get a lot of people went through that which who perhaps weren't imagining that they were going to in the first place. So, it's a bit of a difficult year to judge. But as ever we had a group of level two students arrive, and the transition program just seemed to be a really good fit for them, so we've ended up we've got about 27 on this year.

Similar to Matt, Lynne, we obviously anticipated far less. We actually was anticipating around 12 to 15 learners. Really pleasantly surprised obviously it was subject to a little bit of flex in between the transition program and the T Level in the early stages, but still healthy, healthy numbers - more than what we anticipated.

Yeah that's been reflected among other providers as well, who've been delivering T Level this year. It was really difficult to judge in the run-up, how many students that might be suitable for, and many providers have told us that they didn't deliberately market the transition program, what they did is they marketed a qualification for education or construction or whatever it was. Talked about the T Level and, and other qualifications and then determined what was right for the student, depending on the level that they were at.

Next question. Something about the cost to host the programs in comparison to study programs funding. Michael this is, the transition program is a study program - so it gets funded as a study program. So you would expect this to be in band five (a full-time program). T Levels are funded slightly differently. But the transition program is definitely funded as a study program.

And what have we got next?

Oh, it's Kerry Sharman is asking what will the invitation to participate entail and what is the order for applying? Is this likely to be before or after submitting the ESFA return? Can you be a bit more specific than spring, also is it likely to be a competitive process?

It won't be a competitive process, because if you're, if you're eligible if you've been selected which was a competitive process to deliver T Levels then you are able to deliver transition program. But I'll hand over to Julie for more specifics on the when.

Yeah, yeah sorry I've not been precise there. Basically, because we haven't pinned down exact dates yet. But the way we see it working is that we will run the engagement events, as I said, end of March or maybe early April. But we're trying for the end of March, so that you've got all the information there, before you complete your ESFA return. Now the ESFA return is obviously really important so that Lynne and her teams know, just what you're, you're planning to do from 2022. So it's really important that you fill that in. What we will then do, is we will follow up with a a letter, an email, just to say you know you've you came to the engagement event and you've you've filled in your ESFA return, and because there's a bit of a delay in us getting all the data through from the ESFA return in the, the policy team. By just getting in touch with you, it means that we can just get you linked up with AOC more quickly, and you can start to, to have those sort of introductory chats and things with them. So, I see that happening around about the same time or just slightly after the ESFA return. But certainly the engagement events will happen earlier than that because we want you to have the full information on what you're you're taking on, before you finally commit to that. Is that it's that okay? is that close enough?

I'm not sure at the moment. I will see what people say. I mean we, providers have told us whether they want to deliver a T Level transition program in the most recent return, and that will, will so we'll know who does want to now, and obviously you have a little bit more time to tell us if you if you want to and you haven't already mentioned that in your last return.

So okay, further questions?

Could a short TP, I'm assuming transition program be used to top up an old level two in prep for a T Level? I mean Julie you might have something to say about this, but obviously given the the presentations that we've had about the focus needed about getting the T Level right, I think it's a bit more complicated than simply saying, let's use this and fit it together with something else quickly?

Yeah I mean, I think basically, we you need to look at sort of a transition program in the round, so all the the elements sort of fitting together. I know that initially, we did sort of knock about the idea of whether a transition program did have to be a year long - whether they could be shorter if people needed something shorter. But I think very practically for, for providers having to plan and deliver their, their courses. I think most of them have decided that, that's not really a, a possibility because of us say you know having to have everything in there in place and you know if someone started a transition program in September and felt they were ready in February, there would be difficulties moving them on to the T Level then, or, or that sort of situation, so, so I think although it might give a young person a kind of you know a bit of a foot, a step up, and it might mean that you might concentrate less on the technical skills, and more on say the English and Maths or the, the work experience, and I don't think would be in the area of of doing sort of short transition programs that kind of missed out part of the the core components.

And I think Matt touched on this in his presentation really didn't you Matt? I don't know if you want to say something about how you feel that might impact on students?

Hi Glenn, yeah sure, I think we, one of the things we found is, is, we you know we look like everybody else at where the existing quals were going to be suitable for preparing people for T Level, and I think what we found really is that the what a T Level student needs a whole group of behaviours which the traditional level two quals just don't cover adequately, and I think if you look at the T Level itself and what you expect students to do with it. It's quite a different qualification. It's very immersive, it's very real world, it's very experiential, and it's much more holistic than a normal vocational qual. You know, in a, in a BTEC or whatever you sort of collect your modules like a sort of like and bank them effectively as you go through, sort of block by block. Whereas the T Level is much more based, or can be much more based around case studies, and real world examples, which can lead you know for several months because you don't have this kind of all of these various assignments to hit all the way through the year. You can be much more kind of open and broad with it. As a result, I think to be successful in a T Level, there's a slightly different skill set, or more enhanced skills that some students need, and the sort of things we came up with are you know the ability to problem solved when faced with something you're not familiar with. Attitudes and approaches to work there's a whole bunch of sort of behaviours we want students to have, if they if we know they're going to be successful in a T Level. Developing a number of study skills as well, whereas we're not just aimed at passing criteria. We're aimed at developing people's skills. It's not, it's of course it's about what you know but so much of the T Level is about, yes, but what can you do? And I think it's being able to equip students so that they're able to, to be that sort of student there's big parts as well to do with communication. There's so much immersion with employers and so on, and so forth - they need to be able to talk to people they've never met before they need to be confident in communication. And so, there are sort of elements to do with, you know, communication or I see confidence interviewing and so on. And so, there is so many different aspects, which for a T Level teacher, their sort of list of students arriving at my door to do my T Level, if they had all of these things that would be wonderful. So often those things in that list are not in L2's, existing L2’s. So that's why we went for the big kind of wrapper qual where we could build all those different aspects into it.

Thanks Matt, that's really helpful. 

Okay we've got a few more questions that I'll speed through because we've only got about four five minutes, I think. Claire Whiting wants to triple check that you can't offer a transition program starting in 2021, to prepare your level two students for 2022.

I'm afraid not, as we've talked about before.

Carol Whitworth is saying that wherever you are, I don't I can't remember which I don't know which, which institution you're from but you're starting to deliver T Levels in September 2021, so this year you've done a sort of college pilot similar to a transition year really, that it's so that you can support students to get ready for the T Level.

Mags Crips is asking can you have a transition program for more than one T Level?

You can offer a transition program for any route that you're delivering a T Level in as Julie mentioned earlier, so for some providers in 2020 they were delivering all three T Levels and they decided to offer a transition program in all three areas as well -so that's entirely possible.

Now we did have some other questions that that came earlier too, oh there's a question added to that. Can you combine them? Julie, do you want to come back on that? Because they are supposed to be specific to the root aren't they?

Yeah I mean what we found with some of our, our current providers, is that they are teaching all their transition program students together in some areas and some of the components and then separating them out on others. Obviously for the technical skills, and you would need to work to separate them out because they would all need different technical skills. And the same on, you know, something like you know the specific work experience, but it could be that on on some of the more sort of personal development stuff and things, then obviously there might be ways of merging groups together for that. So, so as I say it's not, it's not impossible that you couldn't bring your transition program to students together for some areas, but you would need to think about the specific skills they need to prepare themselves for that T Level that they're wanting to go into.

Thank you.

Okay, so, some other questions that came earlier - I think mostly we have answered them because there were questions about how it would be structured, and so on. We've talked about a lot of that. Something that we haven't talked about is entry requirements for transition plan, as a program sorry, somebody was asking about that. Danny and then Matt, would you like to just tell us where you set your entry requirements?

Yeah, thanks Lynne, yeah we'd set ours alongside our normal level two program, which asks for four GCSES at grade three or D, although we would not ask for those to be inclusive of Maths and English. We obviously assess each case on an individual, on their individual merits and would hope that the student would come to us with a three in Maths and or English as part of that.

Thank you, and Matt?

Yes, essentially, a mirror image of, of Danny's basically, it's the same situation with us. It's very similar to our normal level two programme.

Super thank you.

Right, I think we're about running out of time, and I think we have covered everything. I can't see anything particularly new in there. I think everything's been covered by the either the presentation or the questions that we've had. So, all that remains really is for me to say a huge thank you to Danny, Matt and Julie, for giving us those really helpful presentations, and thank you very much to all of you for attending. Obviously, if you have further questions, you can contact us and the email for the routes readiness mailbox is on screen.

So I wish you all a good evening, and goodbye thank you very much for your attention.

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