By: Esme Winch

Managing Director

Wednesday 16 August 2017

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Just over a year ago, the Post-16 Skills Plan was published, and the government committed to a hugely ambitious reform of the technical education system. The plan proposes a complete overhaul of the technical education system, and the timescales for implementation always appeared ambitious. It was therefore no surprise that Skills Minister Anne Milton announced a one year delay to implementation of the first T-Levels, which will now be phased in from 2020-22.

The announcement was a welcome one. Department for Education (DfE) staff have been increasingly stretched in the past few years, with a vast array of changes to action and a string of new ministers. It is clear that staff are taking time to understand the complexities of the changes, and previous timescales would be impossible to meet.

The extra year is a welcome one, giving the DfE the necessary time to fully consider the nuances of the reforms, and reducing the risk to learners, who will be pioneers of the new T-Levels. The first year of implementation will be critical. If we let these learners down, support for T-Levels will wain considerably and questions will be raised about whether the plan is the right approach.

I am sure that whilst ministers take a break from parliamentary activities, civil servants are busy working away on tendering arrangements and T-Level design. In April next year, the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) will become the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE), and work is taking place behind the scenes to recruit employers to T-Level advisory panels.

As we approach a new academic year, we look forward to engaging with the DfE, colleges ,the IFATE and learners. Only by working together can we ensure that T-Levels are a success.

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