Advice for parents: Should my child do a T-level after their GCSEs?

If your child has just completed their GCSEs, we can only imagine how stressful and uncertain the last 18-months have been – both for them and you. And now you’re no doubt focused on doing the best you can to help them take the right next step.

For some young people, the option of starting a T-level qualification this September is on offer and it could well be the perfect opportunity for your child. But how much do you know about T-levels? Watch the video below of T-level student Milli and her mum Rowen talk about Milli's experience of her T-level and industrial placement. Then read our answers to some of the main questions parents have about this new type of qualification, what it involves, and where it could lead.

Milli is just about to start Year 2 of her Education and Childcare T-level. She and her mum Rowen shared their thoughts and experiences with us.

What are T-levels?

T-levels are a new type of qualification available to study after GCSEs. One T-level is worth the equivalent of three separate A-levels and takes the same amount of time to complete – two years. T-levels are career focused and have been developed by panels of education specialists and employers so that your child can embark straight onto skilled employment upon completion. If you’re child has an interest or rough idea about the sort of industry they would like to work in one day, a T-level offers a great balance of around 80% of their learning time in the classroom, and 20% (around 45 days) working in the real world on an industry placement with an employer. The school or college offering the T-level will find the Industry Placement for your child.

If your child decides they want to continue to study full time after their T-level, they can - one T-level carries the same UCAS weighting as 3 A-levels. There are also new Higher Technical Qualifications being approved in tandem with T-levels so the opportunity for your child to become increasingly specialised in an industry they are interested in is open to them upon completion of their T-level.

What T-levels are available and where can you study them?

The roll-out of T-levels began last year (2020). By 2024, there will be at least 20 T-level subjects available to study across the country. In September 2021, there are ten different T-level options being offered by over 100 schools and colleges across the country.

Building Services Engineering for Construction

Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction

Digital Business Services

Digital Production, Design and Development

Digital Support Services

Education and Childcare

Health

Healthcare Science

Onsite Construction

Science

Click here to go to the T-levels website to find out where your nearest school or college offering a T-level is.

What would my child need to start a T-level?

As with A-levels, each school and college will have their own criteria (usually GCSE results) to be allowed to study a T-level at their institution. Your child is likely to be expected to have achieved at least a Grade 4 in GCSE in English and Maths. It’s always best to confirm directly with the school or college your child is interested in doing their T-level at to find out what their criteria is.

Click here to find out where your nearest school or college offering a T-level is.

What if my child isn't quite ready for a T-level?

If your child isn't quite ready to start a T-level straight after their GCSEs, or they would perhaps benefit from some support in building the skills and confidence to take on a full T-level, the one-year T-level Transition Programme has been developed. It provides introductory technical skills development relevant to the industry that your child is interested in as well as broader personal development support. The Transition Programme also offers time with an employer (15 days), in addition to dedicated support to achieving the necessary standards in numeracy and literacy.

Click here to find out where your nearest school or college offering a T-level is and whether they offer the one-year T-level Transition Programme.

Other Resources

There are plenty of resources out there if you want more information and support to help your child with these big decisions. Some useful places to visit include:

Finally, well done on getting through parenting during these difficult times - you should be as proud of yourself as you are of your child!

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