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Curriculum Intent: Bridging the Gap - Transition to T-Levels falls short!

As the business planning season is in full swing, with the traditional review of provision, in which we analyse recruitment, Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) and complimented by Local Market Intelligence (LMI). As we now know, this must now be supplemented with a full curriculum intent reviews, so that provision meets local needs, national priorities, and skills gaps.

As Boris announced in his skills speech back September 2020, we need to BBB 'Build Back Better' and the launch of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which has since been enshrined the recent 'FE white paper'. The key national skills priorities are clearly focussed on realigning our workforce

post Covid-19 / Brexit to meet the "shortfall of skilled construction workers, and skilled mechanics, and skilled engineers, and we are short of hundreds of thousands of IT experts".

This focus on digital skills, green technologies, health, engineering, and construction is welcome, albeit at the expense of creative and performing arts. However, there is a huge gap in suitable qualifications for both young people and adults in these key areas. With the on-set of T-Levels many awarding bodies who offer Certificate / Diploma level qualifications have a funding end date in august 2021, so cannot be offered for 21/22 provision. The awarding bodies are not putting any new qualifications in place, as national T-level roll out is on the horizon.

So, what should we do? One approach is going back to the old ways, when we would take 'off the shelf' units and make up our own diplomas. But that generates risk unless you plan and collaborate with Universities for guaranteed progression and time is not on our side.

The obvious solution is to push back the funding end dates on existing qualifications for an additional year or two, to bridge the gap for the transition to T-levels. Will common sense prevail? or the cynic in me feels a last second reactionary decision will be made, following recent DfE trends.

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