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November 2021: Changes to T Level exit requirements and the timeline for level 3 qualifications reform

On Monday 15 November, at the Second Reading of the Skills Bill, the Secretary of State announced changes to the:

  • English and maths requirements for T Levels
  • timeline for the reform of level 3 qualifications

Changes to the English and maths requirement for T Levels

Until now, T Level students have been required to achieve either a grade 4 in English and maths GCSEs or level 2 in functional skills in order to pass their T Level. While this is in line with exit requirements for level 3 apprenticeships, it means T Levels are the only classroom-based level 3 qualification with this requirement.

We want to make sure that as many young people as possible have access to T Levels and can successfully complete the programme. We have therefore decided to remove the exit requirement with immediate effect for all T Level students – those who have already begun their courses and those who have yet to begin. This will bring T Levels into line with other Level 3 classroom based programmes, like A Levels.

English and maths will remain critical elements of T Level programmes. All T Level students will need to continue to study English and maths if they haven’t achieved level 2 by age 16.

We are aware that there are a small number of students on T Levels who are currently studying maths and English under the previous exit requirement arrangement. We will provide more detailed information as soon as possible on how these changes will be implemented and how they will apply to these students.

Changes to timeline for reform of level 3 qualifications

The Secretary of State announced plans allowing an extra year before our reform timetable is implemented.

This extra year will allow us to continue to work hard to support the growth of T Levels and gives more notice to providers, awarding organisations, employers, students and parents so that they can prepare for the changes. 

The extra year means that we will remove 16-19 funding approval for qualifications that overlap with:

  • wave 1 and 2 T Levels from AY 2024/25
  • wave 3 and 4 T Levels from AY 2025/26

We will be publishing the provisional list of qualifications in scope for defunding in 2024 in the coming months. 

The removal of funding approval from a qualification will only apply to new starters – students who are entering the second year of a 2 year qualification will be able to complete it.

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