What are T-levels?
Tech-Levels, or T-levels, are new vocational qualifications at Level 3 and they're equivalent to 3 A-levels. They are aimed at students aged 16+ and will mostly be studied at Further Education colleges. It is unlikely that they could be studied from home education. You will almost certainly need to go to college to study these.
The first T-level courses are starting for some subjects in September 2020,while some subjects will not change until September 2023.
Does this mean Btecs are ending?
Not exactly. First, lower-level Btecs and other vocationals are continuing - see below.
We don't know yet whether the existing Level 3 Btecs and other vocational Level 3 qualifications will continue alongside T-levels. The government is consulting over it currently (up to June 2020). Ofqual has already responded saying it thinks existing Level 3 Btecs should continue to be available because T-levels won't be suitable for everybody.
The new T-levels will include a lot of the content of many Btecs, plus some extra work experience and careers skills etc - see the screenshots below. However, a T-level is likely to be more academically demanding than a current Level 3 Btec.
What does this mean for current Level 1 and Level 2 vocational courses?
Level 1 and Level 2 vocational courses, including Btecs, are continuing. The government is currently reviewing all vocational qualifications for 16-19 year olds at Level 3 and below, but some announcements have already been made. In February 2020 the government said that it planned to stop funding some unpopular courses which have had no entries in recent years, or fewer than 100 entries a year. However, the vast majority of Level 1 and 2 courses won't be affected by this.
Transitional Programmes involving lower-level courses
The government wants to develop 'Transition programmes' for students who aren't yet ready for a T-level. This can include existing lower-level vocational courses, plus work experience, and working on English and maths. Students should be on a transitional programme for a year, but if they're still not ready to ove onto a T-level at the end of that year, they can do another Level 2 course and work on building up other skills, or do an apprenticeship.
T-levels and Maths/English Condition of Funding for 16-19 Education
Students on T Level or apprenticeship programmes are not subject to the maths and English condition of funding. However, similar requirements are in place to ensure all T Level students and apprentices have good literacy and numeracy skills.