further & higher education
local government

The Future of T Levels and Technical Education

further & higher education

local government

08:45 - 15:40

Wednesday 3 July 2019

America Square Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum provides participants with the opportunity to examine the government’s latest strategies and funding initiatives designed to improve technical and vocational education across the further education sector. Attendees will hear from the Department of Education, Institute of Apprenticeships and Ofqual on the implementation of the new T Level qualifications and the Capital Fund to boost providers readiness to deliver them by September 2020. In addition, leading further education providers will share best practice guidance on how to deliver outstanding further education in light of recent and upcoming education reforms including designing engaging curricula to ensuring outstanding teaching and learning standards.


This Forum is specifically designed for Technical and Further Education Colleges. Typical job titles will include:

  • Principals
  • Assistant & Vice Principals
  • Directors of Curriculum
  • Standards Leads
  • Heads of Employment and Skills
  • Heads of Work-based Learning
  • Qualifications Managers
  • Further Education Lecturers
  • Learning Mentors
  • Progress Coaches
  • Heads of Learning
  • Heads of Quality
  • Business Development Managers
  • Strategic Partnership Managers

This Forum is also open to Local Government as well as the Private and Voluntary Sectors to encourage debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Andrew Fisher, T Level Development, Technical Education Implementation Division, Department for Education (DfE)
  • Carmel Grant, Deputy Director – Technical Education Implementation & Delivery, Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education
  • Lucy Sydney, Director of Strategic Relationships for VTQ, Ofqual
  • Kirsti Lord, Deputy Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC)
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Cerian Ayres , Head of Technical Education, The Education and Training Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: The Government’s vision for technical and vocational qualifications reform; preparing for the implementation of T Levels

  • Taking stock on progress towards implementing T Level reforms as outlined in the
    T Level Action Plan 2018
  • Outlining the next steps to ensure the 50 providers of wave 1 T Levels are ready to deliver from September 2020
  • Explaining how DfE is working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and with Ofqual, to develop and implement T Levels – with key roles for employers, providers and awarding organisations
  • Highlighting the arrangements for funding, support, professional development and communications

Andy Fisher, T Level Development, Department for Education (DfE) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Effectively Establishing Robust T Level Standards and Pathways

  • Outlining the Institute’s role in developing and approving the standards, qualifications and occupational maps for the 15 technical routes for T Levels and apprenticeships
  • Explaining how the institute will work with the awarding bodies who will deliver the first wave of T levels to ensure high-quality standards and robust pathways for pupils
  • Highlighting the finalised outline content for the first three T Level pathways, including Construction (Design, surveying and planning), Digital (Digital Production, Design and Development) and Education and Childcare
  • Reflecting on the major lessons learnt throughout wave one and examining the institutes’ new role with regards to T Level implementation

Carmel Grant, Deputy Director – Technical Education Implementation & Delivery, Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Providing a High-Quality Technical and Vocational Teaching and Learning Experience

  • Outlining how Leigh UTC achieved an overall ‘Good’ Ofsted rating for delivering robust technical and vocational, as well as an ‘Outstanding’ rating for leadership and management 
  • Developing an approach to vocational teaching that balances classroom teaching with practical skills, to ensure the curriculum meets industry need
  • Sharing best practice and guidance as to how to maximise excellence in vocational teaching and create a robust curriculum that is engaging and innovative
  • Highlighting the possible impact the introduction of the new T level qualifications could have on the institution and the methods being put in place in preparation for their arrival in 2020

Steve Leahey, Principal, The Leigh UTC / Inspiration Academy (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Discussing Lessons Learned from the T Level Work Placement Pilot

  • Outlining how The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London built upon their existing employer relationships to implement the 45-day work placement, including the important role engagement with employers played during this process
  • Highlighting the challenges faced throughout the pilot programme, including work placement travel and the financial impact it had on pupils
  • Examining the importance of colleges securing high-quality placements that are “affordable” in time and cost to students, and the impact the 45-day minimum requirement has on this
  • Examining the work being undertaken by the institute to gain access to some sectors that are not in the area, and how T Levels could help sustain the numbers of students and skills in the area

Kurt Hintz, Interim Principal, The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Delivering Education and Childcare T Levels – A Training Providers Perspective

  • Outlining the journey of CACHE being awarded a contract to deliver the education and childcare T Level pathway by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education and DfE
  • Highlighting the process of developing the Level 3 Technical Qualification in Education and Childcare and the current progression of ensuring it is ready to be implemented in 2020
  • Examining the three occupational specialisms within the new qualification, including Early Years Education and Childcare, Assisting Teaching, and Supporting and Mentoring Students in Further and Higher Education, and how both classroom-based and practical learning was embedded within them
  • Showcasing how CACHE will work with FE providers to ensure they effectively implement and deliver T Level teaching and learning

Julie Hyde, Director, CACHE (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Ensuring High-Quality Technical and Vocational Standards Across the Further Education Sector

  • Outlining how Ofqual will regulate Technical Qualifications within T Levels

Lucy Sydney, Director of Strategic Relationships for VTQ, Ofqual (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Supporting Colleges to Effectively Prepare and Plan for T Level Implementation

  • Outlining the key considerations colleges must undertake when establishing an industry placement, including achieving buy-in from curriculum teams as soon as possible
  • Sharing best practice from pilot providers of T Levels during 2017/18, such as staffing structure and the importance of operation managers overseeing all implementation
  • Examining how FE providers can establish effective ‘duration models’ that meet the DfE 315 hours requirement, including the difference between summer and spring intake
  • Highlighting the immediate priorities which colleges and other providers should be focusing on as the T Level implementation date approaches, such as business development, learner engagement, learner preparation and developing industry partnerships

Kirsti Lord, Deputy Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Providing Outstanding Vocational and Technical Education in a Period of Constant Reform

  • Outlining how HCUC College has embedded a culture of adaptation to their vocational curriculum, allowing them to overcome the challenges of a constantly changing skills sector
  • Looking beyond the need for a singular college approach by effectively establishing and partnering with employers to boost vocational education for learners and examining the impact of this approach.
  • Sharing guidance on how FE providers can successfully balance meeting the national agenda with local need and regional priorities for skills regarding vocational and technical education
  • Examining the possible impact that being named as one of the twelve Institutes of Technology could have on improving vocational education and high-quality skills training

Dylan McTaggart, Vice Principal, Harrow College & Uxbridge College (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Preparing to Deliver T Level Courses and Qualifications in 2020

  • Outlining the processes being implemented in preparation to deliver the T Levels across all three new pathways in 2020
  • Examining how Truro and Penwith College have established an inclusive college environment to raise awareness of the T Levels in an attempt to attract post-16 young people to undertake the new qualifications
  • Sharing guidance on bringing together facility, senior leaders and curriculum managers to establish a robust T Level course and achieve buy-in across the learning provider

Julian Roberts, Employability Lead, Truro & Penwith College (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

According to the Centre for Social Justice’s (CSJ) The Future of Work: A Vision for the National Retraining Scheme report in February 2019, upskilling workers could grow the economy by £125 billion. However, the UK has fewer employees participating in vocational training than the EU average. Just one in ten workers are currently studying for a nationally recognised qualification, while investment in skills training from employers has dropped by 25 per cent in the past decade.

To support the continued development and implementation of technical and vocational education reform across the UK, the Department for Education (DfE) released their updated T Level Action Plan in December 2018. The plan outlined that the first three T levels, Digital, Construction and Education and Childcare would be delivered from September 2020 by a small number of high performing providers across the country. This would be followed by Health and Science being rolled out in September 2021. The report further outlined details on T Level design and structure, assessment timings, progression to and from T Levels and grading certifications. Also, DfE set out its first initiative to boost teaching skills ahead of T Level roll-out in November 2018, setting aside £8 million worth of funding for teaching professionals to participate in the new T Level Professional Development Programme to support their skills and knowledge development before 2020. In January 2019, the Institute for Apprenticeships took formal reasonability for the rollout of T Levels, becoming the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute). This was followed by the government announcing a £38 million Capital Fund for the first further education T Level providers to build new classrooms and upgrade their equipment to improve the sectors readiness to deliver the new qualifications from September 2020. Further developments were made in February 2019, when the DfE and the Institute awarded the contracts to develop, deliver and award the first three T Levels have been awarded, this was followed by the government naming 12 “Institutes of Technology” across England to provide high-quality skills training.

The onus now falls onto the Further Education sector to adapt to these vocational reforms and effectively prepare for the upcoming rollout of T Level across the UK. It is vital that technical training providers, awarding organisations, employers and FE colleges all come together to establish and delivery high-quality vocational education, not just for young people but also current employees. Failure to do so could have a negative effect not just on the further education sector, but also the UK economy.

Julie Hyde, Director, CACHE

Julie has over 10 years’ experience of management in the childcare and education sector. Julie spent 12 years prior to this gaining commercial sales and training experience working in industry as a Regional then National Account Manager. Julie joined CACHE in 2010 as Northern Regional Manager and in 2011 was appointed Senior National Development Manager. In 2013 she was promoted to Director of Business Development where she directed the development of high quality vocational qualifications in care, health and education for learners and employers; improving the skills level and professional standards of the childcare, adult care, education and health care workforce. Julie is now the Director of CACHE. In Julie’s role as Director of CACHE, she led on the recent Save Our Early Years campaign which resulted in the government reinstating Functional Skills as an alternative qualification for Level 3 Early Years Educators.

Kurt Hintz, Interim Principal, The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London

Kurt has worked in Further Education for over 20 years across two countries, formally serving as Director, Vice Principal and Deputy Principal at College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. Kurt is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and begun his career in the New Zealand Army before moving into the private sector and then onto teaching in further education at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in New Zealand.

Kurt was Chief Examiner to NZQA’s Automotive Engineering National Examinations for 3 years and also a World Skills National Judge before moving to East Berkshire College in the UK in 2004. Here he managed the Engineering and Computing provision also achieving Centre of Vocational Excellence (COVE) status in Automotive Engineering.

Kurt has a long history of vocational and apprenticeship training delivery both in New Zealand and the UK including running national training contracts for industry. Kurt has managed significant technical innovation and has led on many teaching and learning projects including, most recently, the ETF Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA), Flexible Learning project in Cyber Security and Industry Placement pilots in preparation for T levels.

Lucy Sydney, Director of Strategic Relationships for VTQ, Ofqual

Lucy Sydney took up her post as Director of Strategic Relationships for Vocational and Technical Qualifications at Ofqual in May 2017.  Her team is responsible for engaging and influencing key stakeholders across the VTQ landscape, promoting awareness and understanding of Ofqual’s work, and feeding in views from those who use and depend on qualifications.  Primary interlocutors include 150+ Awarding Organisations; employers’ organisations; schools, colleges and their representative bodies; the Department for Education and members of its departmental family; and other parts of UK and devolved Government.  Over the last 20 years she has served in a range of stakeholder engagement, policy and operational delivery roles at the heart of government, in and around Cabinet Office/HM Treasury and their arms’ length bodies.

Julian Roberts, Employability Lead, Truro & Penwith College

Before joining Truro College Julian worked at Cornwall College and managed a range of vocational courses, in addition to this he had a role in the Quality Department. Julian joined Truro and Penwith College in 2009 and established a new area within the curriculum called Personal Professional Development and set up the College Job Shop which now oversees the delivery of work placements across both the FE and HE sector.  Julian ran the T level pilot on behalf of the college and now oversees the Capacity Development Fund in preparation for being one of the first 50 colleges to deliver T Levels on 2020.  

Steve Leahey, Principal, The Leigh UTC / Inspiration Academy

The Leigh UTC specialises in Engineering and Computer Sciences offering students a superb education in a state-of-the-art building that will give them the specialist skills, knowledge and experience to have a successful career in the technology sector.

Steve Leahey left school at 16 to follow an apprenticeship programme in construction / civil engineering.  Worked for several companies then decided on a teaching career after being asked to take on a group of 16 year olds at a local FE College in Chester.

Completed a BEd Degree course in 1991 then went in to teaching, primarily as a D&T teacher but eventually specialising in engineering. Had the opportunity to develop this area of the curriculum both at local level and influence awarding bodies through vocational awards. Having settled in the South East the UTC project has been a passion of mine since its inception 9 years ago.

The last 8 years have proved to be the most rewarding of my professional career, working alongside a range of project stakeholders from large businesses, SMEs, DfE, ESFA, BDT, consultants, educationalists and contractors. Having a proven track record of success has enabled others to put their complete trust and faith in me to deliver not just a UTC, but also a center of technical excellence.   Outstanding student outcomes provide the confidence required to push on with the vision and to expand our UTC to include a Key Stage 3 STEM Academy.

Andrew Fisher, T Level Development, Technical Education Implementation Division, Department for Education (DfE)

I work on the development of T Levels policy at the Department for Education, with a particular focus on quality assurance and evaluation, in the wider context of post-16 policy.

I work closely with colleagues across the department, at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and at Ofqual, to develop the new qualifications and build the future of post-16 education.

In previous roles at the Department, I have worked on reforms to GCSEs and A levels, and the Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage, led by Dame Claire Tickell.

In a previous career with a specialist housing association, I led a care service for people with complex learning disabilities, and developed professional training for care staff.

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