Norfolk college and sixth form will be among first to teach new qualification T Levels

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 May 2018 | UPDATED: 19:58 27 May 2018

Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form principal Ian Clayton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form principal Ian Clayton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

A college and sixth form in Norfolk will be among the first 52 centres in the country to teach a new technical qualification.

City College Norwich. Picture: TEN GroupCity College Norwich. Picture: TEN Group

City College Norwich (CCN) and Thorpe St Andrew Sixth Form will be two of the first colleges to teach T Levels, which the government says will be equivalent to A Levels but will give young people both technical and academic options after GCSEs.

Courses in construction, digital and education and childcare will be the first to be introduced in 2020, with another 22 courses - covering sectors including finance, engineering and design - rolled out in stages from 2021.

By 2023, the government says all subjects - including legal and catering - will be introduced.

The courses, which will be full-time over two years, will be classroom-based, but will include work placements to put their qualifications into practice.

Ian Clayton, principal at Thorpe, said being invited to develop the courses was a “recognition of the success students at our school have achieved already”.

“More importantly, this will create real alternative opportunities for Norfolk’s young people,” he said. “These courses will deliver training and skills in areas of great employment options and needs in the county and beyond.

“We have delivered very successful a real mix of vocational and traditional A Levels which has suited so many individuals.

“Part of the challenge now, is to convince students and their parents of the value of this type of study to the individual as well as addressing our community needs.”

Corrienne Peasgood, principal at CCN, said: “We welcome the opportunity we have been given to pilot the first three T-Levels from 2020/21.

“CCN is well-placed to pilot the new qualifications, thanks to our strong employer links, industry-standard training facilities, and the extensive provision we already offer in these areas.”

She said, for example, in childcare they educate 45pc of the county’s 16 to 19-year-olds, with the figure for construction even higher.

“We are looking forward to working even more closely with our employer partners to provide young people with an attractive new route into skilled careers, through high quality technical education and substantial experience of work,” she said.

“There is an exciting opportunity here for us to work together in tackling key regional skills gaps, whilst simultaneously addressing social mobility in parts of Norwich and Norfolk where it has lagged behind other areas.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “Everyone should be able to have access to an education that suits them, but we know that for those that don’t choose to go to university, the routes into further technical and vocational training can be hard to navigate.

“That’s why we’re making the most significant reform to advanced technical education in 70 years to ensure young people have gold standard qualifications open to them whichever route they choose.”

The Department for Education says it will review other technical qualifications to make sure the system is clear - and “other qualifications may remain if they have a clear purpose”.

No colleges in Suffolk are in the first round.

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