The Maths and English T Levels opportunity

With only a few months to go until the first T Levels are delivered and become a new technical alternative for 16-18 year olds, there are still concerns about the implementation of the new two-year programme.

21 February 2020

Whilst the main discussion is about their ability to deliver substantial industry placement, many have overlooked, and may have forgotten, the crucial role that maths and English will play in this alternative pathway.

The Government says that a GCSE grade 4-9 or a Functional Skills level 2 pass in English and maths will be an exit requirement for T Levels. However, some of the underpinning mathematical skills outlined in “Mathematics for the T Level Qualifications: a rationale for General Mathematical Competencies” published by the Royal Society, could be said to be higher than Level 2. In this way, learners who haven’t yet achieved their GCSE Maths at grade 4 or above or their Level 2 Functional Skills may find these challenging unless they receive specific teaching to support them.

For many years, the Post 16 Further Education sector has been working to build awareness of the importance of numeracy and literacy to achieve success in work and life. From a learning and education perspective, T Levels are an exciting opportunity to reinforce functional literacy and numeracy and digital confidence which support progression in study and work.

Although the T Level outline draft content documents refer to embedding the “necessary” maths, English and digital skills needed to achieve the threshold of occupational competence, these will need to be drawn out through the development phase of the Technical Qualifications in consultation with wider stakeholders.

The opportunities that T Levels could bring as an alternative technical route, and the role they could play in strengthening English and maths skills within the curriculum are crucial to learner success and participation. Focusing on the relevant skills within the content is important if we want technical students to succeed in this competitive environment and we must ensure they have the skills they need to thrive in life and their careers.

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