Video transcript - The T Level Transition Programme at Barnsley College


Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal Young People

Our initial intention was to have all our 3 T Level routes together under one Transition umbrella, and we very much wanted to deliver it as a non-qualification model where we were focusing on developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours for our Transition students to then be successful on the T Level.

We had representation from each of the three curriculum areas, along with myself and a couple of other managers across the college, to investigate how that Transition Programme would look and we wanted it to have a lot of flexibility and fluidity so that it could focus on progression to the T Level.

 We didn't want a lot of that time being taken up by the restriction of a formal qualification because sometimes then what happens is the deliveries focus on what the qualification needs rather than what the student needs. So what we wanted to do is be able to perform diagnostics on our students and identify where their particular areas are spent for, but also there are areas of development and then be able to almost work individually within a group setting on that development role towards having the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours for the T Level, so we had technical content in there, we wanted to ensure that we had maths and English, digital and pastoral support.

But very much every session being a holistic approach to ensuring that we could deliver what the students needed. So for example, a particular task, one student the focus might have been on their problem solving ability, but for another it might be in their verbal communication or it might be leadership.

So what we had is we ensure that our T Level staff were also our Transition Programme staff and that became critical.

They were the ones with the insight into what was needed to become T Level ready. So they used that experience and knowledge to then develop what the Transition Programme content needed to be and that became ongoing development, so during a particular T Level year, the first year of the T Levels they identified that some students would be struggling on a particular topic or an element, so that was an opportunity to do some development work within the Transition Programme to ensure that these students were more ready when they stepped up.

Ebrahim Loonat, Course Leader for Construction

With the Transition Programme, we've done quite a few assignments with them, so as part of the assignments they've got to research they've got to produce a report up to a certain standard. Also, as part of report writing, will first of all find out the right structure as part of Report writing and then we'll also look into critical writing as well. So how do we get the research in. How do we look at two sides of the argument and how do we present that as part of our report as well basic skills like proofreading, looking at spelling, grammar, you know, that's all very important as part of, you know, the final report that's being produced.

Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal Young People

Another element was new methods of assessment. So again, the fact that T Levels got the exams in there, it's got a lot of project based so it was important that the Transition Programme had elements which was supporting learners to improve, so improving in an exam for the sake of being better at an exam, not for getting a 60% passmark or 70% passmark or anything like that about that and also the utilisation of projects. So using projects in the Transition Programme which then again ensure that students could progress moving forward and be very comfortable with the projects when they moved to T Levels.

Sometimes the project would be set by the team, other times it came in from an employer or a combination of the two.

So the attempt was made with real world projects and in some cases in the development stages then different students will be assigned different roles within how that project came together, different elements of the responsibility aligned to the to the content. But then what we did through, again found through development, is that one of the cohorts had the T Level students and the Transition Programme students working together on projects, so they actually identify time in the timetable where it would be a T Level project and what we have now is our Transition students were exposed to the T Levels students and exposed to what that next year would look like, but then actually working on a collective target and a collective project together.

Ebrahim Loonat, Course Leader for Construction

So we've got many case studies that we use as part of the Transition Programme one case study that we've used local one called Glass Works. Which is taking place at Barnsley town centre, is a shopping centre and as part of that case study, what we're talking to the students about is, you know the design process in terms of what the professionals have been dealing with the type of foundations are being used, the type of materials are being used as part of the project all the Health and safety issues that the contractors have been working with and also the project management side of it as well.

Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal Young People

We have a college based certificate for the Transition Programme with employer endorsement and the key elements is that they have like the key units or elements that they've covered in the Programme is identified, but then there is a reference kind of all the key knowledge, skills and behaviours that they've developed. So in terms of the certification, there's something that identifies what they've achieved, which supports with the portability because we are aware that you know when you've having a non qualification, it's what is the student leaving with but actually what we have is a document that identifies what the students do and what they've developed. And again, that's both from a a theoretical and knowledge and content based, but also practical and an employability element.

So that's the structure of the the certificate and then we have a kind of a celebration award event so we do it as a combined T Level and Transition Programme. So again that continuation of that that thread.

Bob Devine, Programme Manager Construction Crafts

For next year we're going to be building more practical into the Programme and we like put in our Transition students in with the T Level students so they get a good idea of the level of academics in that area and they can do a bit of the projects as well. It's a good learning environment for them.

So that's what we're going to be doing more of for next academic year.

Ebrahim Loonat, Course Leader for Construction

So as part of the Transition Programme, what we need to do is we need to get employers more involved so we can have more guest speakers in and getting them to just give the students a bit of an overview in terms of you know, their progression rules in terms of what they do as part of the real life industry .

Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal Young People

Look at what the T Level offer and have that close relationship with using the Transition Programme to prepare learners for the T Level and I come back to that point of it's not just about the content, it's the wider, it's the work readiness, it's the methods of assessment. It's like so there's opportunities within the Transition Programme to do that. It's having the staff that teach across both the T Level, the Transition.

Appreciate that that might not always be the case, that it can be the same staff. So where it isn't, definitely provide opportunities where those staff can come together to share best practise and develop their practise.

Ebrahim Loonat, Course Leader for Construction

Make it holistic in terms of teaching. Make the assessment quite a sort of enjoyable as well for the students as well and just make it an enjoyable experience.

Neil Johnson, Assistant Principal Young People

I would definitely recommend having T Level and Transition students to come together as well.

Nobody tells you how it is like a student and the students may hear the same message, but they hear it from a different voice and it resonates more and it enables them to see what the future looks like.


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