Walsall Studio School has today been announced as one of the first schools or colleges in the country to develop and teach the new gold standard T-Level qualifications.
From 2020 the studio school, which is one of the founding academies of the Mercian Trust, will deliver the new T-Level in Digital Production, Design and Development.
The new study programme will see students preparing for a technical career or university-level higher apprenticeship. Young people will study significantly more hours than most sixth form students and will also complete a three-month work placement. The curriculum itself is being created by expert panels of employers.
Education secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme this morning: “We haven’t had businesses as involved as they should be”. “This is a really big reform,” he said. T-levels will become one of three main options for post-16 study alongside apprenticeships and A levels. Prime Minister Theresa May said T-Levels will help the UK to “compete globally”.
Dan Parkes, Principal of Walsall Studio School and the Mercian Trust’s Executive Director for Innovation, Partnerships and New Schools Development, said: “We are thrilled to be pioneering excellence in the field of technical education as we further develop qualifications that employers value and real-world experiences for students that prepare them for the world of work.”
The digital economy in the West Midlands has created record levels of jobs but many are currently unfilled because local young people do not yet have the skills employers need. Through Walsall Studio School the Mercian Trust aims to be at the forefront of this digital revolution.”
Adding “The Digital Production, Design and Development specialism will be developed over the next two years as part of the trust’s new St Matthews Learning Quarter and will maximise the life chances of all its students by working closely with the creative and digital industries to help address the growing demand for higher level digital skills.
Gold standard qualifications
Businesses want people with technical education and workplace experience to “help them fill the skills gap,” said Jane Gratton, head of skills policy at the British Chambers of Commerce. She said: “T-levels will be an important part of the solution.”
The Prime Minister said the new courses were the “most significant reform to advanced technical education in 70 years” and would “ensure young people have gold standard qualifications open to them, whichever route they choose”.
A full list of schools and colleges developing T-Levels for their launch in 2020 is available on the DFE’s website here.