Q&A with a 2020 T Level Sector Delivery Partner

Havant and South Downs College (HSDC) is one of the ETF’s sector delivery partners, delivering the Role Specific Training element within the T Level Professional Development (TLPD) offer to other providers. These courses are co-designed and delivered by staff from within the sector, which means providers and staff can have confidence they will meet their need for meaningful and effective professional development

Ashley Grute, Assistant Principal Vocational Curriculum for the South Downs and Alton campuses at HSDC, is interviewed by the ETF’s CPD Trainer, Joanne Sutton. She asks how HSDC has found T Level delivery and whether he has any top tips or advice for other T Level providers.

Can you tell us about your role, and HSDC’s involvement with T Level delivery?

I am the strategic lead for T Levels and deliver T Levels alongside our Digital T Level lead, Nadia, and Construction T Level lead, Will. These members of staff have been engaged with Industry Insights and T Level Resource Improvement Projects (TRIPs), as well as T Level content and specifications. They have also been working with local employers.

As a ‘sector delivery partner’ for the ETF, HSDC is delivering Teaching T Levels: Vocational and Professional Upskilling, Teaching T Levels: Enhancing Pedagogy and New Teacher Programme to other providers. These courses form part of the Role Specific Training element of the TLPD offer.

We have recently delivered an in-house Teaching T Levels: Vocational and Professional Upskilling session to members of Barnsley College’s Health, Construction and Digital T Level teams.


How does HSDC support its staff?

At HSDC, we have used Taking Teaching Further to support our new teachers. We have been working closely with sector specialists and have taken a conscious decision to recruit new staff with up-to-date industry skills. T Level leads have a challenging role and are therefore keen to develop up-and-coming staff by investing in the right people with the right skills – providing opportunities for staff to develop within their roles. We have chosen proven communicators who are driven, aspirational and who recognise the need to support teachers and students.


What have the benefits been for your organisation in delivering T Levels so far?

We have been immersed in T Levels for two years and feel we have something to offer other colleges who are starting their journey. We want to showcase what we are proud of and support colleagues in other colleges. These courses are a positive opportunity to collaborate and share. As a result of our involvement with the Role Specific Training, we have engaged with colleges we’d not spoken to in the past. For example, we now have created a new relationship with Barnsley College – and have regular phone calls to help one another in a way that we might not have traditionally done with a more local neighbour.

Delivering T Levels has given us an opportunity to develop external confidence to speak to other colleges and other agencies involved in delivering T Levels, for example to the Department for Education (DfE), Association of Colleges (AoC) and academies. Another positive is the recognition for the college, as a sector delivery partner we feel we are leading the way, and this is our chance to shape what is happening and to share our culture.


Do you have any top tips for other providers about your experience undertaking the Role Specific Training of the TLPD offer?

When we saw the material for the courses within Teaching T Levels and New Teacher Programme, we didn’t want to change it we just wanted to add our flavour to it. These courses can help those delivering in 2021/2022 by allowing them to learn from any mistakes made by providers delivering T Levels from 2020 and to pick up the good practice they developed. The CPD also allows colleges to talk to colleagues who are already delivering T Levels to see what works. The courses include strong use of EdTech which helps to develop individual teachers’ delivery and allows them to develop their pedagogy.

The courses contain well thought out elements for example the T shaped learner graphic which really helps to visualise what T Levels are trying to achieve. The courses help you to get organised, while providing opportunities for teachers to develop and get ready for delivery. There is also signposting to helpful information about Industry Insights and TRIPs, as well as opportunities for networking. There are golden nuggets throughout that allow teachers space to think about T Levels differently, to enhance their thinking about T Levels and provide opportunities to enhance their delivery and plan effectively.


What do you wish you had known before starting T Level delivery?

If there was one thing that I would have liked to have known before setting out on T Levels, it’s that it was all going to be OK. There were times in the journey where I doubted it. I would advise teachers to trust in the support packages offered by the ETF, as well as the AoC, DfE and the awarding bodies. There is so much support if you just take it up – it will prepare you and get you ready for T Level delivery. I wish I’d known that.


Check the course calendar for upcoming dates for your diary.


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