"The size and rigour of a T-Levels programme is comparable to a three A-level programme," the Department of Education said. Source: Justin TALLIS/AFP

T-Levels – two-year courses that prepare students for work – will launch in the UK in September 2020, providing an alternative pathway that will follow GCSEs with content developed in collaboration with businesses and employers.

T-Levels will be equivalent to three A-Levels, with a Distinction* grade in the former worth 168 UCAS points, corresponding with three A*s, each worth 56 points, university admissions service UCAS announced earlier this year.

“The size and rigour of a T-Levels programme is comparable to a three A-Level programme,” said the Department of Education.

Here’s how the two qualifications compare in terms of grades:

UCAS tariff points T-Levels overall grade A-Levels
166 Distinction* A*A*A*
144 Distinction AAA
120 Merit BBB
96 Pass (C or above on core component) CCC
72 Pass (D or E on core component) DDD

UCAS said the points system was “based on the size of the qualification (the number of learning hours) and the grade achieved by the student, using regulated information”.

Director of External Relations, Helen Thorne, said: “Universities and colleges make their own admissions decisions and accept a broad range of qualifications for entry to higher education, including vocational and technical qualifications.

“Our information and advice for students, their teachers and universities is being updated to help them understand more about the new T-Levels and the opportunities they can offer.

“It’s important to remember that not all universities use tariff points in their entry requirements and offers, so we encourage students to check the UCAS website and with universities directly about the qualifications they accept.”

Responding to this, a spokesperson for the UK government said T-Levels were “the gold standard technical course of choice for young people post-16” and equivalent to A-Levels.

“This means young people, parents and employers can be confident T-Levels will be just as stretching as their academic equivalents, and will offer students the option of progressing to the next level, whether that is a job, higher technical training, a degree or an apprenticeship.

“Last week, the education secretary also announced that T-Level results would be published on the same day as A-Levels from 2022, so that all students receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work.”

T-Levels: A mini guide

T-Levels are new technical courses students can sit alongside the traditional academic A-Level qualifications and apprenticeships. Selected colleges and schools (providers) across England will offer this qualification, designed by employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in September 2020.

It combines classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). The compulsory components are a technical qualification – which will include core theory, concepts and skills for an industry area as well as specialist skills and knowledge for an occupation or career – an industry placement with an employer and a minimum standard in maths and English if students haven’t already achieved them.

The knowledge and experience gained from this can be used to enter skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

T-Level subject areas include accountancy, agriculture, land management and production, animal care and management, cultural heritage and visitor attractions, digital business services, education, financial, healthcare science, onsite construction and science. Here’s the link to the list of the providers that will be offering the first courses in digital production, design and development; design, surveying and planning; and education.

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