Feedback from middle managers preparing to introduce T Levels suggests that support provided by the Education and Training Foundation is having a significant impact on their thinking and actions. Asked after in-house T Level Professional Development (TLPD) sessions about the benefits they had derived from them and the actions they would take as a result, attendees named a broad range of specific and broader impacts their participation would prompt.
They included planning and implementing an employer consultation to gain a better understanding of what they might hope to achieve from offering industry placements for students, undertaking a stakeholder analysis to identify priority groups to engage with, making time to work with colleagues to discuss aspects of curriculum design, and fostering an ability to articulate the benefits of T Levels and why the provider had chosen to deliver them from 2020.
Attendees also said they had valued the opportunity to work with colleagues from across their organisation and understand how their area fitted in to its broader activity, realising that more needed to be done sooner than they had anticipated, and discussions of how to make links with industry.
The success of the sessions is founded on a rigorous assessment of a providers’ needs. Initial contact with key contacts at a provider establishes exactly what is required to meet their needs, guiding the creation of a bespoke package pitched at the right level for attendees. That level can vary considerably; some providers have already attended various CPD around T Levels and want to make sure CPD extends their existing knowledge, whereas others are at the beginning of their journey.
Whatever level participants are at before the sessions, they are asked to think strategically across their whole organisation in order to understand where their team or job role fitted. Part of this is to ask challenging questions, particularly ones inviting them to see the bigger picture and think strategically such as how and why T Levels are different and what they mean for their organisation and its students, the expected impact of the new courses, and how to ensure there is ‘powerful knowledge’ in the curriculum.
The sessions that have resulted have included discussion of a range of approaches and tools, including stakeholder analysis and engagement with employers, communications plans and working with other local providers to share effective practice and maximise the provision of work placements, communicating the core principles of curriculum design, and what mechanisms will be necessary to ensure teams across organisations aren’t managing change in isolation.
To find out more about how our in-house support could support your middle managers to prepare for T Levels, express an interest here.