Carmel College: How staff engagement increased following our in-house Understanding T Levels day

The Understanding T Levels (UTL) element of the ETF’s T Level Professional Development (TLPD) offer helps staff prepare for T Level delivery, providing them with learning activities, formative assessment tools, further resources, and support. In this blog, Vikki Moran, Work Experience Co-ordinator at Carmel College, writes about the experience of involving more than 50 members of staff in an in-house UTL course. Find out why the training day was such a success and why the course has led to increased engagement and excitement amongst staff at the college.


Carmel College is a Catholic sixth form college in the North West of England, situated between Liverpool and Manchester. We are a well-established sixth form widely known for our incredible results but not really known for technical programmes. We do offer a small number of BTEC programmes but when we learned about T Levels, we couldn’t resist the idea of being involved in a potentially ground-breaking new technical qualification! T Level training for staff is a large part of our implementation plan and our incredible ETF Area Relationship and Development Lead, Punam Kholsa, recommended we look at getting all staff to take the UTL course so they can begin to understand how T Levels will impact their role. We agreed it would be best to do this as a tailored in-house training session – this turned out to be a great decision as staff really pulled together and some great conversations were had!

The in-house training session was organised for 24 February from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Now, it was organised as mandatory training for staff, and we all know how well that sometimes goes down… but we sent out some really short, to the point, pre-training information (including a summary of the Sainsbury’s review…) to whet appetites. We had over 50 staff attend the training from a variety of departments: teaching, pastoral, CMT, Marketing, Careers, Work Experience, MIS, Liaison, HODs, Exams, Learning Support, IT… pretty much every department was represented as T Levels will have an impact on almost everyone. The main focus for us was to build a baseline understanding from which we can grow and develop over the next 12 months prior to us delivering T Levels. The course facilitators kept a great pace, used humour and real-life stories, and kept all of us interested, motivated, and entertained throughout the full session. I actually think some teaching staff were still asking the facilitators questions half an hour after the session ended!

Since the UTL training, we have:

  • Organised our Organisational and Individual Training Needs Analysis sessions
  • Signed up to personalised CPD training
  • Looked at staff to take part in Industry Placements and Networks
  • Began to arrange Teaching T Levels courses (Professional & Vocational Upskilling and Enhancing Pedagogy) as in-house sessions for at least 15 members of staff

We have also had a member of staff accepted onto the Leadership Mentoring Programme of which the feedback is that the sessions are outstanding and enormously helpful in developing implementation across the college. All in all, we are more than excited to be delivering T Levels in 2022 and pioneering what could be incredible technical qualifications for generations to come!

As a College, we would absolutely recommend requesting tailored in-house training sessions and if anyone has any questions or feedback just get in touch, we are more than happy to become a supportive part of the T Level community!

Feedback from staff was phenomenal and there is real excitement about the prospects of delivering T Levels and the potential future of technical qualifications. Here is some specific feedback from staff across different teams:

Senior Management Team:

“Excellent training delivered by a number of knowledgeable and personable presenters. The session contained a good mix of timely and appropriate information, punctuated with opportunities for discussion where staff were enabled to apply to their own context, followed by feedback and questions. “

“The delivery was very good and was a mixture of information alongside a sensible amount of opportunities to discuss ‘best ways forward’ in small groups. There was a good pace, and a new understanding was gained by all. In total, the ‘virtual’ session lasted almost 3 hours and this passed easily due to the planned activities. The training, therefore, provided a relatively easy way to upskill a large percentage of the college and to focus our thinking.”

MIS Team:

“I found the training very informative and very well explained, giving an insight into what it would mean for a college to commit to undertaking T Levels in the future.”

Careers Team:

“I found the session useful and informative. Interesting to find out about how the elements of the course work in practice and how big a role work experience has. Useful to hear about the experiences of the first wave providers.”

Marketing Team:

“It was useful to understand how T Levels work and the things to think about with regards to communicating with our target audiences (prospective students and their parents) from a marketing point of view.”

Exams Team:

“I thought the session was really useful to get everyone discussing. I’d had a basic look at T Levels prior to this as I was looking into obtaining approval from one of the exam boards, but I thought the session was really informative and it highlighted many challenges we will face in running these qualifications.”

“It gave a good starting point on what we all need to do at this stage to get prepared, and to make contacts at other centres who have already started to run these courses this year who may offer some good advice.”

Teaching Staff

“It was helpful to get clarification about which aspects of assessment fall to the provider and which to the employer.”

“It was useful to learn that T Levels could be aimed at students with lower functional English and Maths skills on entry with a view to raising those by the end of the programme”

For more information on Understanding T Levels click here.


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