T-level: How does the new qualification work?

Amid the chaos of Covid, a revolution is taking place in education virtually unnoticed. After years in the planning, it's finally time for T.

This month sees the launch of a new vocational qualification called the T-level and colleges in the Midlands are among the first in the country to roll it out. Some experts are describing it as the biggest development in the way we teach our young people for 70 years.

So what are T-levels and how do they work?

They're aimed at 16-19-year-olds who've done their GCSEs and involve practical learning rather than academic - making them an alternative to A-levels or an apprenticeship.

80 per cent of the learning is done in the classroom, with the remaining 20 per cent (around 315 hours) in the workplace.

A T-level is the equivalent of 3 A-levels, and they are graded with a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*. So a Distinction* would be the same as 3 A*s at A-level.

The Government hopes it will simplify the rather complex arrangements we currently have for vocational education - both for students and employers. In time, the T-level may come to replace things like BTecs and NVQs.

There will be courses in everything from Hair and Beauty to Construction, from Childcare to Digital Technology.

Credit: ITV News Central

Launching a new work-based qualification in the middle of a global pandemic will certainly be challenging. We're in the middle of an economic downturn and many employers are focused on simply staying afloat, let alone giving work placements to T-level students.

The biggest challenge though may be public awareness. People we spoke to in Derby today had never heard of T-levels. The Government had a major marketing campaign planned ahead of their launch but that became a victim of lockdown.

Credit: ITV News Central

The task ahead is to convince teachers, parents and careers advisors that this is a worthwhile route for teenagers. If so, one day students, having completed their GCSEs may come to regard taking a T-level as normal as choosing A-levels.

Here's the views of some young people we spoke to today: