Planning a strategic T Levels approach
This resource contains questions to use in discussions about how T Levels fit into your organisation’s strategic plan.
Outcomes from these discussions should help you make strategic decisions about how T Levels fit into your organisation’s wider offer. They should also enable you to position T Levels to students, parents and carers, employers, partners and staff.
Each section of this article focuses on a specific strategic area which you may want to focus on as you develop your T Level offer. Considering all these strategic areas together should help to give you confidence in your approach to planning a high-quality T Level offer.
The sections are:
- Scope and impact – Effect of T Levels on the strategic plan
- Staffing – Skills and people needed to deliver the programme
- Finance and risk – Financial resources and controls
- Communication - Communication plan to support the offer
- Stakeholder relationships - Gaining support for the programme
- Pathways – Routes for students on to T Levels
- Progression – Routes for students afterwards
Who is it for?
Senior leaders and managers.
How to use this resource
Each section starts with a key question followed by subsidiary questions. Discussion of the subsidiary questions will inform your responses to the key question.
Use the questions as you start to plan for T Levels or during the organisation’s strategic planning cycle.
Identify a lead person to prepare and facilitate discussion around each set of questions.
1. Scope and impact
How significant is your T Level programme to your organisation and what impact will it have on the organisation’s strategic plan?
1. Which T Levels do you plan to deliver?
2. What is the timeline for offering these T Levels?
3. How do you assess the level of demand from students for these T Levels?
4. How do your plans for T Levels affect other programmes offered to students?
5. How does your planned T Level programme affect the organisation’s plans in other areas, for example, infrastructure, central services, student support?
6. How will other planning groups contribute to the T Level strategic plan?
How do you plan to establish, deploy and maintain highly qualified and expert staff teams to deliver your organisation’s T Level programme?
1. What staff are needed:
- for curriculum development
- to deliver technical and occupational specialisms
- for student support
- to manage relationships with employers?
2. How could existing staff be upskillled and redeployed to meet these needs?
3. What is the requirement for new staff?
4. How are staff within T Level programme teams deployed to maximise the positive impact of skills and expertise, e.g. matrix structures, agile groups?
5. Which systems and processes are used to ensure that staff:
- perform consistently to a high standard
- exchange information rapidly about best practice?
6. How are staff within central functions (finance, estates, marketing etc.) deployed to add maximum value to T Level teams?
7. What role does the HR team play in facilitating a high-performance culture in all T Level teams?
You can find an extensive range of support for staff CPD at the Education and Training Foundations T Level Professional Development site.
3. Finance and risk
What finances are needed to deliver your organisation’s T Level programme and how will financial risks be managed?
1. How much capital funding is needed annually in each of the next three years, e.g. for premises, facilities, equipment?
2. Where will the extra capital funding come from, for example, T Level Capital Funds if available?
3. What use can be made of existing assets to reduce the need for extra capital funds?
4. How confident are you that the planned T Level programme can be delivered successfully using T Level delivery funding alone?
5. How do you retain clear oversight of the cost of T Level delivery in order to monitor financial risk?
6. What contingency planning processes are in place to manage the impact of these risks?
Who is responsible for the T Level communication plan2 and how well does it support the organisation's T Levels offer?
1. Who is responsible for designing and implementing an integrated T Level communications plan internally across your organisation and externally to stakeholders?
2. How does the plan reflect the organisation’s strategic vision for T Levels?
3. How well does the plan fit in with the cycles and patterns of T Level activity, for example, student recruitment, results, periods of intense activity?
4. How does the plan support key audiences including:
- students, for example, to access learning resources and guidance
- staff, for example, to access the latest T Level guidance and resources
- employers, for example, to access guidance and templates used in industry placements?
5. Which channels and platforms are used to communicate information and messages?
6. How is the plan costed and what is the budget?
7. When and how is the plan evaluated?
5. Stakeholder relationships
How do you gain and maintain support for your T Level programme from key stakeholders?
1. Which key stakeholder groups are you in regular contact with about T Levels? Examples include:
- Skills Advisory Panels
- Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
- employer networks such as Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Business
- Sector Skills bodies
- other providers including universities
2. How do you define the contribution each stakeholder is most likely to make to your T Level programme? Examples include:
- contributing to classroom learning, for example, talks and presentations
- offering industry placements
- providing insights into industry needs
3. How should you consolidate your links with stakeholders so that they support and inform the T Level programme? Examples include:
- regular contact through ‘keep in touch’ calls
- invitations to take part in industry panels
- newsletters, bulletins, social media feeds
4. What methods do you use for strategic communications with key stakeholders? Examples include:
- CRM systems
- account management
- event programmes
How do your partnerships with schools and other providers help to make sure that:
- pathways to all T Levels are available locally and regionally
- students and others are well informed about these pathways and the opportunities and benefits they provide?
1. How do you use your strategic partnerships with schools and other providers to create pathways to T Levels, especially in sectors identified as a priority in local skills improvement plans?
2. How do you communicate with students, parents, guardians or carers, teachers and careers professionals about these pathways?
3. Which key messages do you give about the benefits of T Levels?
4. What use do you make of case studies, testimonials and other ways of communicating students’ experiences of T Levels?
5. How do you coordinate engagement with your respective partner networks to maximise support for T Levels from employers?
6. How do you use your partnerships with other providers to:
- support each other in T Level curriculum design
- share practice, resources and facilities
- make industry placements available for all students?
How do your partnerships with universities, employers and other providers help to make sure that students:
- have access to a wide range of high-quality progression routes when they finish their T Levels
- are well informed about these routes and the opportunities and benefits they provide
- are supported to make a positive decision about next steps?
1. What information do you give to students about the opportunities open to them when they finish their T Levels, including:
- further study?
2. How do you ensure that you provide accurate and up-to-date information which:
- reflects opportunities in the labour market
- opens up progression to higher education
- gives students the best chance of making a positive next step in their route to a rewarding career?
3. How do you use your partnerships and links with other providers and universities to make these progression routes attractive and straightforward for students to access, e.g. by guaranteeing interviews?
4. How do you support students to:
- make the best choice of progression routes
- follow up their preferred routes
- succeed in making a next step which meets their aims?