Video Transcript - Case Study: The T Level Transition Programme at Weston College


Dave Trounce, Deputy Principal

You start your journey by ensuring that not just the curriculum, but the wider organisation really understands the T level and the Transition to T level. I'd also say that I think you need to be really clear on your intent at the very beginning so you know why are you doing a T Level and why are you doing the Transition to T level and in particular if you're running a parallel curriculum offer, because you know you have to think about the parent, learner, the employer, saying why would a student do this route as opposed to that route and I think you know there have to be defining features. There has to be difference.


Jaz Murray, Lecturer

We currently offer a really nice Level 2 programme. Actually. It doesn't mirror the T Level as well as I'd like it to. We are changing our qualification for next year to one next is just a lot more similar to the T Level in health so that actually it provides a better kind of scaffolding, it's definitely a better stepping stone for the learners. It's more relevant and there's a lot more transferable knowledge there, which is kind of the overall intent really, so it fits a lot better.

They currently do a placement. We like them to do a social care placement because the owner gets so much valuable experience for that and actually some of our learners when they came in say I'm not going to a care home, I don't want to do that and then some of them are employed in the sector, we're really proud of how hard they work there and they get so much from it, so we've embedded more of that into our Transition Programme for next year.

And they're going to do block placements to again follow the T Level structure because we've seen so many benefits from that block placement experience, the rapport they build for employers being in wider employment opportunity.

So again, it's something we've tried to build into the curriculum for next year.


Sandra Bull, Dean of Study

It's difficult to balance the placement with the delivery, of course, but we try and sequence it, so whatever the learners do out in placement will be what their delivery is in terms of within the college timetable. We also obviously contextualise our math and English within those sessions. They would get standalone maths or English depending on which subject they are taking, but alongside that, they would have delivery from the vocational staff in terms of embedding it for that vocational sector.


Dave Trounce, Deputy Principal

Employee engagement obviously is at the heart of probably the success of technical curriculum, so we've always invested a lot of time and energy into building relationships and involving employers in the design of our curriculum. I think the T level was the first way that we've pushed the employer door open and one of the things we did very early on is that we've got employers to endorse our T level programmes and endorsement was not just about saying our T levels are great, it was about them giving a commitment to offering an industry placement and obviously getting involved in understanding that curriculum and also understanding how they could get involved in the design of it.

That led us onto the Transition to T Level because it opened up the conversation then around that and obviously the Transition to T Level was the place that you needed more support, particularly around employer set projects that we were having to design, there was nothing to pull off the shelf.

So one of the big things that we focused on was a project based assessment. So we made our diagnostic assessments around a 6 week project and obviously we made sure that all of our programmes had an employer set project which now I'm really pleased to see it's become part of the national framework and the other thing that we obviously made sure those consistent is around the extra English and maths.


Sandra Bull, Dean of Study

The employer set project is set with our employers. So 3 times a year we meet with our local employers and talk through with them about what we've got planned for that Transition Programme or the T level. For the employer set project it's reflective, in which they would be required to do at a T Level, just slightly lower in the academic ability.

It would still be timed, it would still be under exam conditions and it prepares them for the next level coming up.


Dave Trounce, Deputy Principal

One top tip we found was to remember that one size doesn't fit all. When you're thinking about the design and delivery of Transition to T Level or T Level programmes, they actually are quite different and obviously different subject areas have different needs and therefore that can affect your design. So whilst I'd encourage people to have some commonality I would expect to see different sequencing and different proportions of time being spent in the different elements depending on the need.

The other important thing is obviously the diagnostics something that has come across as a real strength in Transition to T Level. It's really made us organisationally across our curriculum, rethink our diagnostic. I think that's been one of the great benefits of being involved in this. We now have a much more extended diagnostic across our curriculum for young people than we ever did before, and that was very much stimulated by the thinking that we gained through the Transition to T Level.


Sandra Bull, Dean of Study

Next year we will look at developing our curriculum further in terms of linking it to the outdoor curriculum delivery, Forest school and obviously sustainability, the green classroom. I think that's an opportunity that we could explore a little bit more to prepare our learners for the future curriculum.

I would say work as a team, be excited about it. It's a great opportunity to design your programme to fit your local employers and your students. I wouldn't be put off by it at all, I think it's a great programme, but obviously, it needs tweaking a year on, so just be open to move and so that it's organic as the year goes on really.


Jaz Murray – Lecturer

We're going to make it more contextualised. That's something actually we as a team have agreed we need to do more on because when they come from school, science isn't necessarily related to healthcare. So then when they come here they can't transfer that knowledge. We need to put that work in to actually get them to see how that science looks in the health sector and where they're going to be using that and hopefully they'll be able to identify these things out on placement and they'll start to have a better foundation ready for the T Level.

I just think they get so much more industry relevant knowledge, like the skills they get from it, the stuff they're learning about is real world stuff they're going to have to use everyday and we're really fortunate they have those placements so they, you know, they can learn about something on the Monday on the Tuesday they go and apply that and that's such a valuable experience.

There's obviously that kind of historical theoretical stuff they still need to learn.

But you know, everything is relevant. Everything is getting them prepared for work which you know, other qualifications, I did an NVQ definitely didn't prepare me in the same way.

It's just really nice that they have that exposure, but also like a safe environment to kind of get that wrong and make those mistakes, ask those questions.

When they go to work like they're so confident and they're just so ready and several of them, like I said, are employed in the sector now. So I think that really speaks for itself, that, you know, they've made that progress from learners that they wouldn't even stay in a classroom at the start of the year that have now got part time jobs in the health sector. I just think it's amazing.


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