As a new qualification, T-Levels can be particularly confusing. Many students have been told they are a possibility for further education, but never given information and do not know anyone else taking them. You may have questions such as how many you can take? And what are T-Levels? This can make it hard to make the right decision for your future study, as you do not have all the information you need. This article will answer all your burning questions about T-Levels.
T-Levels are generally focussed on one specific trade or career and the functional skills related to it. This is designed to help you when entering the vocational career later in life. They require dedication and focus to pass. They also demand skills in industry placement, which take time to build. For this reason, it is most common to only take one T-Level at a time, instead of taking A-Levels, or another equivalent qualification.
While this paragraph may have given you a surface-level answer to your questions, please read on to find out the full details about T-Levels and how you can choose them as a pathway after GCSEs.
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What are T-Levels?
T-Levels are new qualifications that are an alternative to A-Levels, apprenticeships and other further education courses. They are intended to be studied over 2 years. They are technical and applied courses, which focus on vocational skills to create a pathway for students into skilled employment, university, or other courses and pathways such as apprenticeships.
T-Levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships, designed by employers to help fill gaps in the job market and to increase technical skills in job applicants. However, they differ from apprenticeships because they require much more time in the classroom. This makes T-Levels more suited to those who are not fully sure what occupation they want to pursue and are not yet ready to enter the workforce.
Check out another one of our articles for more information on apprenticeships here.
You can already take a T-Level in Education and Childcare, Health, Digital Business services and more. There are many more courses planned to start in the upcoming months and years. Some of the most exciting of these include Accounting, Animal Care, Legal Services and Catering. For more of the courses and information about each one and its requirements, please check out the government website for details here.
Each T-Level involves 80% classroom learning and also some time spent on placement within your chosen industry putting your learned skills into practice. This industry placement is what sets T-Levels apart, as it involves working with a real business. This means you learn practical and focussed skills that will be useful no matter your future path.
Just like A-Levels, studying a T-Level before you turn 19 is free. Although you do not earn money, unlike an apprenticeship, it is still a great way to continue your academic education, while getting practical experience and building connections within your industry.
The official T-Levels website has lots more information on T-Levels and their benefits and can be found here.
How Many T-Levels Do You Take?
As T-Levels are focussed on one subject, they are usually studied one at a time. This allows you to fully focus on your passions, while still developing a wide range of skills and knowledge to help you build a career. They are also very in-depth, involving industry placement and classroom study, so require time and dedication to complete which means you cannot study more than one at once.
However, this does not mean they are worth less than A-Levels, or any other equivalent qualification. Universities and employers in Britain highly value T-Level students because they are practical and well rounded, and already have skills and independence in their vocational area. This means T-Levels can take you to any path in life, the same as any other qualification can so do not avoid them as you think they may be seen as less valuable!
For more information on the different types of higher education, please check out this article.
How Many UCAS Points is a T-Level Worth?
One T-Level is equivalent to 3 full A-Level qualifications and the grading system matches this with equivalent UCAS points. There are 4-grade options, each with a band of UCAS points available, with the highest being equivalent to 3 A* grades at A-Level.
The points and grades are illustrated in the table below (as can be seen on this UCAS breakdown page about T-Levels). To gain any points you must get a pass level overall and above that there are points available for each grade increase:
|UCAS Tariff points||T-Level overall grade||A-Level equivalent grades|
|168||Distinction* (A* core, distinction in occupation specialism)||A*A*A*|
|96||Pass (C or above core)||CCC|
|72||Pass (D or E core)||DDD|
It is easy to see how T-Levels can allow you to go to university, as a high T-Level grade is extremely valuable in UCAS points, as well as showing practical skills in your industry. It is a nationally recognised qualification, not only by universities but also by companies, so taking it instead of A-Levels is a great and well-respected path that can lead you to anywhere you want in life.
Where Do You Study T-levels?
Many schools and colleges across the UK now offer T-Levels as part of their options for post-16 study. The schools that offer them are growing in number as T-Levels become a more common and requested option for students. Also, the number of T-Levels available is increasing rapidly.
This means T-Levels are only going to become easier to study as time goes on, so being one of the first few years of students to take them is a great distinction to hold. A list of schools and colleges that offer T-Levels can be found here. If you are wondering whether your college or school of choice offers T-Levels, contact them directly for more information.
However, T-Levels also involve an industry placement. This means that 45 days of your 2-year course will be undertaken in a workplace. Your school or college will help you to find a placement that matches your course and is accredited by the government to take on students. This means that not all of your T-Level course will be undertaken within a school, enabling you to gain real-world experience.
Can You Study T-Levels at Sixth Form College?
Yes. The most common place for T-Levels to be studied is at a sixth form or sixth form college. This is because this is where most 16-year-olds go after finishing GCSEs. However, you can also study T-Levels at a sixth form attached to a school, a regular college, or another institution listed on the link above. Be sure to explore all the options to find which place you think will suit you best.
Can You Do T-Levels Instead of A-Levels?
Yes. T-Levels have been created by the government as an alternative to BTEC and A-Level qualifications, so it is normal to take them instead of A-Levels.
Doing T-Levels is generally recommended for people who want to learn technical, applied skills, rather than only focussing on academics. It is also useful for people who do not have a chosen career in mind to fit an apprenticeship. T-Levels make a good choice for people who want to continue with the routine of school or college, but also gain practical skills in a career or area they want to pursue.
Many people have chosen T-Levels because of the interactive element to study, going into an industry placement for 45 days to complete on the job experience and training. This gives a great insight into the world of work, which many students wish for after completing GCSEs.
If you want to hear stories from students who have chosen T-Levels and why, please check out this link.
What Age Do You Study T-Levels?
Usually, T-levels are studied at age 16 to 19, in the same way that A-Levels are. This is because they form part of the same level of learning: further education, which is studied post-16. However, you can also study T-Levels at any stage of life in college, although for over 19-year-olds they may have costs attached.
Most T-Levels have entry requirements based on GCSE grades, just as A-Levels and apprenticeships do. These are specific to each school or college, so check your choice for the grades you need. If you find you cannot meet these requirements, there is the option of doing a T-Level foundation course, which will help prepare you for the further study needed in T-Levels. For more information on this, please check out the website linked above.
If you are considering studying T-Levels, check out the links throughout this article for more information and guidance on how and why you could pick this option. You can also ask your school or college for more information; a careers advisor may be a helpful place to start looking at your options.