This does not need to involve separate educational pathways, and the NEU is concerned that T-levels could increase the divide between academic and vocational learning.

“T-levels will need to be excellent quality, but the panels designing these qualifications have no expertise in curriculum development or pedagogy. Nor do they have any experience of working with 14-19-year-old learners at further education colleges.

“Teachers welcome reform, but they are realistic to the point of scepticism about its chances of success in a country so weak in its funding commitments and with a poor record of investment in training. This is of particular concern regarding the long work placements that learners will be required to complete as part of their T-level course. Experience shows us that employers do not step up to the plate when asked to provide opportunities for young people in the workplace. There are also many areas of the country where there are not enough employers near to colleges to accommodate all learners.

“The NEU supports a reformed, unified, properly-funded system of 14-19 curriculum and qualifications which help bring an end to the notion that academic and technical learning pathways at 16 are an ‘either/or’ option.”



Note to editors:

We are currently in Liverpool for our Annual Conference (15-18 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.

The Conference Press Office can be reached on 0151 707 4642 (9am-6pm) and 07879 480 061 (24hrs). The press officer can be reached at

Our conference agenda is available here:

The hashtag for Annual Conference is #NEU19 .

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe.
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.