As St Thomas More Catholic School students complete their final year of T Levels, two learners – Mia Saxby and Lucy Wicks – are looking ahead to bright careers in childcare after receiving offers from their chosen universities.
They are two of over 500 T Level students who currently have a live university application, a figure UCAS expects to continue rising throughout the remainder of the cycle. What’s more, there are now 119 universities recognising these flagship vocational qualifications.
We spoke with Mia and Lucy to find out how studying the T Level Technical Qualification in Education and Childcare (Level 3) has prepared them for the next step on their education journey.
On gaining confidence and developing skills:
“I'd say I'm quite confident in general, but as the course has progressed and I’ve spent more time on my placement, my confidence has increased a lot. I’d also say that I now have better time management skills as I have to plan for observations, plan activities and have to do certain jobs when I'm on placement – so it's crucial that I manage my time effectively.
“I also think I'm quite adaptable, as when I'm on placement and doing certain activities, not everything goes to plan. As such, I’ve had to adapt activities to meet children's needs and interests.”
On her future aspirations:
“The T Level prepares students for university, and I’ve applied for primary education courses with QTS at Northumbria, Sunderland, Durham and York. I have a lot of ground knowledge from doing this course, which will be a foundation for when I start university. I’ve attended interviews at Northumbria and Sunderland and have an offer from both!
“I think this T Level gives me several opportunities for my career. I know I want to be a nursery teacher, but anything could happen in the future. I also have an interest in working with babies. As part of my course, it was crucial that I attended a month of placement in an under-two provision, which gave me this experience and knowledge about all the different care routines.”
On whether she would recommend it to others:
“When I finished my GCSEs, I honestly didn't know what I wanted to do. I’d already heard about the T Level as my teachers had mentioned it to us in Year 11. I’m not very good in exam situations and the T Level has a mix of placement, exams, observations and an employer set project, which works very well for me.
“I’d recommend taking a T Level. The courses are for people who learn by a balance of a hands-on approach as well as exams. It’s also great for people who already have a career path in mind as you get three A Levels at the end in that one subject, so it can put you leaps and bounds ahead of other candidates.”
On following her passions:
“Having loved studying Child Development at GCSE, I knew working with children was something I would like to do. The T Level really appealed to me as it had the practical side to it and I learn best in a hands-on learning environment, taking knowledge and seeing it in practice.
“I’ve loved completing the T Level and it has provided me with so much knowledge and experience for the future, whilst also giving me so much confidence in working with children and leading lessons and activity plans.
“I'm hoping to complete a primary teaching degree and one day become a qualified primary school teacher.”
On putting theory into practice:
“The practical, hands-on experience has been my favourite aspect of the T Level. Being able to work in the industry from the start has been great, and I’ve loved studying and applying what I’ve learned in class into practice. There are so many skills I've learned whilst doing the T Level.
“Being in an educational setting, applying all our knowledge on teaching and learning styles, and being able to apply this in our practice has given me so much knowledge into how children actually learn, and that every child is unique. The course has taught us how to complete detailed activity plans and observations that we’ve been able to use in our placements.”
On her plans for the future:
“I’ve applied for three QTS primary teaching degrees and an education degree and have received conditional offers from all. My experience of working within a primary school classroom during the T Level has given me so much experience which I will take with me into my teaching practices.
“The T Level has not only given me the practical experience but so much knowledge on education today, covering topics such as pedagogies and theories. I’ve had the opportunity to plan learning experiences, prepare resources and make observations of children, which again will be beneficial in my degree.”
Find out more about our T Levels and how we can support you and your learners to success.