A successful T Level CPD day at Halesowen College

In this guest blog, Craig Tucker, Staff Development Director at Halesowen College, writes about a recent T Level CPD day involving more than 100 staff members. He explains how he worked closely with ETF’s Area Relationship and Development Lead, Sue Blake, to prepare for the day, which covered many aspects of the T Level Professional Development offer and had a positive impact on staff.

Halesowen College is due to deliver T Level courses from September 2021 and had started attending training and development sessions related to T Levels when they first became available. Senior Leaders and Heads of Division engaged in a range of ETF-led and externally hosted training events, travelling to events in London, Exeter and Birmingham until March 2020. With the impact of the pandemic, priorities changed, and as a result some of the gains made in training and the wider understanding of T Levels for staff were reduced.

At the start of this academic year, there was the need to ensure that the implementation of T Levels was back on the agenda, and the support from the ETF and our Relationship and Development Lead, Sue Blake, was key to this. We were able to share the ETF provided resources, Professional Development Platform and Training Needs Analysis with staff. These were good, but tended to be used by individuals rather than whole teams. After reading about a whole college training event at Hugh Baird College in the March T Level Professional Development bulletin, Sue worked with me to design a programme to engage the whole college and make use of our July Staff Development Day. An important element was to include staff who would be engaged in upcoming waves and support staff, not to just focus on the most imminent T Levels and those delivering them.   

The day consisted of a range of online sessions aimed at both curriculum and support staff. Sessions included Designing the T Level Curriculum Theory into Practice, Contextualising Maths and English, Understanding T Levels for Support Staff, Employer Engagement workshop, T Level Course specifics for Health and Science as well as information about the Society for Education and Training. I would like to thank Julian Roberts, Head of Employability, Industry Placements and Transition at Truro and Penwith College, for helping to deliver the employer engagement workshop. In total there were 82 staff who attended at least one session and 19 who attended more than one session, so 101 participants to the sessions over the day. In planning the day, we were mindful to ensure that sessions did not overlap and gave staff time to attend the sessions. It was helpful to have a pre-meeting with the trainers to give context to the college and for us to explain our journey so far.

The day was a success and ensured that staff who will be speaking to parents, guardians and prospective students had a clear idea and understanding about the course.

Comments from support staff were:

I found the session useful as it gave me an insight into the new T Level structure and all the elements needed in order to pass the course. The Library is now looking into purchasing resources for the new courses and liaising with relevant members of staff, and have shared notes from the session so all Library staff are aware of the new courses. – Senior Library & Learning Resource Assistant (E-Learning)

I found the T Level training very informative; I now have a good idea of what is involved with T Levels and have produced a PowerPoint that can be used as a summative source for the Learning Support team as guidance. Learning Support Assistant

As a member of the Schools Liaison team, it was extremely useful to be able to ask the sort of questions we know we will be asked by potential students and their parents/carers, so we know how to answer them. Outreach Hub Assistant 

Teaching managers and staff commented that:

The T Level training was insightful and the provision from the ETF regarding mentoring, work placements and resources will help create a better talent pool of lecturers/teachers for the new courses. Construction Lead

The ETF underlined the importance of embedding English & Maths, but underlined the importance of context, embedding learning in a relatable and applied sense. – Trainee Teacher Business

For me the most engaging slide was the routes into the occupational map which explained when the different subject courses were being introduced and I am much clearer on the structure of the T Levels now. – Head of Division, Hair and Beauty

The highlight from the day is really the impact that it has had on the staff; there is now a far greater understanding of T Levels, what to expect from them, and how their introduction will change the structure of the curriculum. Staff are now more aware of the T Level Professional Development offer, including mentoring and the Industry Insights programme, available from the ETF.

A big thank you to colleagues at Hugh Baird College, who were the inspiration for our development day. We were able to create a meaningful and useful development day which had a clear purpose and focus. I would also recommend this training to anyone else and would suggest talking to your Area Relationship and Development Lead and identifying a day for the training to be delivered.  The support from Sue was excellent and she was able to engage with the trainers. The use of an online delivery model allowed us to share information and best practice from all around the country. For anyone interested in having a further discussion about the day, please contact Allison Matthews, Director of Quality and Staff Development amatthews@halesowen.ac.uk.

For more information, or to arrange your own CPD day, please contact your Area Relationship and Development Lead.

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