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T Level Transition programmes provide a preparatory programme for 16-19 year olds who are not yet ready to undertake a rigorous and stretching level 3 T Level technical programme of study.

T Levels are key to the Government’s agenda for technical education reform. T Level programmes are level 3 study programmes for 16-19 year olds to gain the skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen career path. The programmes are based on standards that have been informed by employers’ needs.

In December 2021, The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) published the T Level Transition Programme Framework for Delivery 2022 to 2023. This sets out the core content of a study programme for learners, aged 16-19, who are not ready to embark on a T Level programme.

National Technical Outcomes have also been published for the following areas:

The T Level Transition Programme is a type of 16-19 study programme covering:

Areas of core knowledge, skills and behaviours for the T Level Transition Programme

Industry-relevant technical knowledge and skills

  • Core technical knowledge and skills relevant to students’ chosen T level route
  • Knowledge about different T Levels

Skills for successful study

  • Skills and behaviours to prepare for the type of level 3 study and assessments encountered on a T Level
  • Study and assessment techniques

English, maths and digital skills

  • GCSEs or Functional Skills in English and/or maths (depending on prior attainment)
  • Application of contextualised English and maths skills
  • Basic digital skills

Knowledge and skills for the workplace

  • Professional workplace behaviour
  • Effective communication
  • Teamwork and relationship building
  • Organisational policy and procedures
  • Travel training

Positive attitude and behaviours

  • Strategies to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem
  • Managing stress and coping with setbacks
  • Setting goals and reflecting and responding to feedback

Learner group

The Transition Programme is intended for learners who have the ‘potential to progress’ onto a T Level programme which the ESFA has identified as those who:

  • are able to demonstrate an aptitude and keenness to progress onto studying a T Level
  • need further support to address barriers to accessing a T Level – due to prior attainment, pastoral issues or personal development needs – that can realistically be delivered within the duration of the Transition Programme
  • would benefit from the additional time the Transition Programme allows to build their knowledge and skills in English and Maths, in order to achieve their Level 2 by the end of their compulsory education or training;
  • learn better in a predominantly classroom/workshop-based environment rather than the workplace.

The programme is intended for learners aged 16 to 19 and for young people with Education, Health and Care Plans up to age 24.

Programme structure and delivery

Providers need to ensure that programmes are tailored to provide the support and stretch to enable learners to progress to a T Level programme.

The programme should be delivered as full- or part-time study with a minimum of 540 planned hours for a full-time programme.

Although the Transition Programme has distinct components, well-planned programmes will bring together and integrate components to provide an engaging programme of study.

Learners should have their own tailored programme but there are opportunities to effectively manage provision through:

  • co-delivery across groups, bringing together learners following different technical areas for English, maths and personal development learning
  • project-based learning that can develop both technical skills development with employability skills through experiential learning

Experience of the workplace

As well as having the opportunity for meaningful employer engagement through the programme learners should be suitably prepared for the transition to a T Level programme and specifically for the T Level industry placement and future work-readiness. Activity may include work tasters, work experience or shadowing.

Employability skills such as time management, problem-solving, basic skills including digital skills, working with colleagues, and communication skills are also key to this component. There are opportunities to develop these skills through work preparation prior to work experience, as part of the pastoral support and personal development activity and/or through technical skills learning.

Technical skills and knowledge

The expectation from ESFA is that introductory technical skills are not the biggest component within the programme in terms of hours. Delivery of technical skills should be flexible, engaging and interesting for learners and have appropriate content to prepare learners for progression. In its framework, ESFA suggests that the technical component could be delivered through an existing level 2 technical qualification on its list of approved qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds and available for 16 to 19-year-olds, through on-qualification-based delivery or as discrete modules such as workshops, projects or as part of other components.

Pastoral support, personal development and enrichment

These components of the programme may focus on a learner’s emotional support and/or mental health needs, and to overcome any barriers to learning.

Mentoring, personal and social development such as confidence building, communication skills, and independent skills might all contribute to the activity within this component.

Additional flexible content

Providers will be able to offer additional appropriate content to the five core content components where this would facilitate progression to a T Level route e.g. health and safety.