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Exceptions to the English and maths minimum requirements for learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

Every effort should be made to enable T Level learners to meet the level 2 English and maths requirement, including appropriate use of access arrangements, reasonable adjustments and stepping stone qualifications.

However, some learners with learning difficulties and disabilities may be able to meet the other T Level components but may struggle to achieve the English and/or maths qualification at level 2 as a result of the nature of their difficulty or disability. Learners in this category who meet all of the conditions specified below are exempt from the regular English and maths minimum requirements and are instead required to achieve a minimum of Entry Level 3 Functional Skills in these subjects.

Depending on the learner’s individual circumstances and assessment, the adjustment may apply to one subject in isolation, or to both English and maths. If the adjustment is only applied to one subject, the regular requirements for the non-adjusted subject will apply.

Adjusting the minimum requirements to Entry Level 3 Functional Skills in English and maths can be considered by the provider on an individual case-by-case basis where all of the following conditions have been satisfied:

  • The learner has either an existing or previously issued Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, a statement of Special Educational Need (SEN) or a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)
  • The provider holds or has conducted an evidenced assessment demonstrating that even with support, reasonable adjustments and stepping stone qualifications the learner is not able to achieve English or maths to the minimum level as a result of their learning difficulty or disability
  • The provider must reasonably expect that the learner will be able to successfully achieve all other aspects of the T Level requirements and achieve Entry Level 3 Functional Skills in the adjusted subject(s) before the end of their course
  • There are no industry-specific minimum entry requirements

Although the learner will be exempt from the regular English and/or maths minimum requirements, providers must consider how to enable the learner to access further literacy and numeracy development – including Level 1 and Level 2 courses – as part of their overall training provision, if appropriate.

The assessment should be formal, structured, and authorised by an appropriate professional associated with the training or education provider, such as the head of SEN or Student Support. The format of the assessment is to be determined by the provider but must be able to stand up to scrutiny. We expect that it will be conducted within eight weeks of a learner beginning their course and will include:

  • assessment of the learner’s current English and maths levels
  • collection of information on how the learning difficulty or disability affects the learner’s English and maths abilities and a clear indication of whether one or both are affected
  • assessment of the learner’s ability to meet the regular English and maths requirements even with appropriate support in place
  • the creation of a recommended learning plan to enable the learner to achieve Entry Level 3 in the adjusted subject(s) and, where appropriate, to continue to build on their literacy and numeracy skills by accessing further courses
  • collection of copies of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, a statement of Special Educational Need (SEN) or a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)

The Individual Learner Record (ILR) will be used to monitor the application of this adjustment to the regular English and maths requirements. Providers should retain evidence that justifies their decision that a student is eligible for this exemption. This information must be available to auditors appointed to test the use of ESFA funding and to Ofsted inspectors.

In the event that the learner disagrees with the outcome of the assessment, the provider must provide a facility for the learner to request a second opinion. The provider must ensure that the assessment is reviewed independently by a second SEN professional. The format of the review process is to be determined by the provider and must be able to stand up to scrutiny.

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