DfE concedes longer T-Level work placement needed

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The DfE has acknowledged sector concerns around the short length of T-Level work placements and is considering extending the minimum number of hours, Nursery World can reveal.

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The T-Level Education and Childcare T-Level work placement will be extended past 40 days

This concession from the Department for Education follows our story (22 July), which reported that T-Level work placement pilots are currently underway with students undertaking a minimum of 40 days. This is despite Education and Skills Funding Agency guidance stating that placements should be an average length of 50 working days, within a range of 45 to 60, for a minimum of 315 hours.

This is still way below the 730- to 750-hour work placements those doing the Early Years Educator qualification (EYE) undertake.

At a proposed minimum of 40-45 days (around 270 hours), the work placement falls short of the 720 hours that awarding bodies consider to be the minimum length in order to achieve a license to practice.

Training organisations and awarding bodies have continued to raise concerns over the number of work placement days students on the Education and Childcare T-Level will undertake.

In light of this, the Department for Education (DfE) told Nursery World, ‘We have listened to comments from the sector on the need for longer Education and Childcare T-Level placements, and are working with the T-Level panel to agree a longer minimum placement expectation.’

The DfE’s T-Level panel includes early years consultant and author Penny Tassoni, the manager of Ellesmere Children’s Centre Sharon Curtis, and Action for Children’s early years manager Corinna Laing. The panel is chaired by Edward Sallis, an associate of the Education and Training Foundation and chair of the English and Maths Advisory Board of Mid-Kent College.

Julie Hyde, director at CACHE, said, 'Comments from the sector echo our concern for significant  Education and Childcare T-Level placement hours, especially when the T-Level is expected to be a licence to practice. It would make sense if hours are calculated in line with current Early Years Educator qualifications to achieve equitability and fairness both for the learner and the setting.'

Velda Bartholomew, training operations manager at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, 'We believe it’s essential that T-Level students gain sufficient experience to work as a Level 3 practitioner who can be confidently counted in the ratios on completion of their qualification. As such, it’s very positive that the DfE is giving serious consideration to the number of work placement hours required.

'It’s worth noting that the general consensus among awarding bodies and the sector is that the minimum placement expectation should be 720 hours, which is significantly more than the current minimum. As such, we hope that the Government will continue to listen to and engage with the sector and make the changes needed to ensure that the T-Level is a qualification that both employers and learners can be confident is fit-for-purpose.'

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