What does the tl badge stand for and why are MPs wearing them today?

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  • Viewers have spotted MPs wearing these on television and are wondering, what does the tl badge stand for?

    We’re used to seeing MPs in parliament wearing badges to promote certain causes and initiatives. From cancer charities to gender rights awareness. Most recently, Boris Johnson wore a wheat pin to throw his support behind #BackBritishFarmingDay.

    In January 2022, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was spotted wearing a tl badge during a number of media interviews. And people are keen to understand what it represents. We explain the meaning behind the badge and it’s link to the new post GCSE education option that’s being offered as an A Level alternative.

    What does the tl badge stand for?

    The letters tl stand for T Level and the badge most recently worn by the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi is the official logo of the new learning initiative by the UK government. T levels are a 2-year qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds that teach technical skills (hence the ‘T’) which aim to prepare students for the world of work. Each T Level equates to 3 A Levels.

    “T Level students spend 80% of the course in the classroom, learning the skills that employers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement, where they put these skills into action,” states the government website. “The government has developed T Levels to deliver world-class technical education and give you a new choice after GCSEs.”

    T levels official government logo

    Credit: Gov.uk

    This new education option is offered as an alternative to apprenticeships, A levels and other college courses for students aged 16+. 448 education facilities across the country are currently offering this qualification. You can check whether your local school is on board by searching your nearest T level provider here.

    T level courses

    As of September 2021, there are 10 different T Levels being offered. Though the Department of Education have promised that 23 different T Level courses will be available by 2023.

    Current T Levels include:

    • Building services engineering for construction
    • Digital business services
    • Digital support and services
    • Design, surveying and planning for construction
    • Digital production, design and development
    • Education and childcare
    • Health
    • Healthcare science
    • Onsite construction
    • Science

    Why is Nadhim Zahawi wearing the tl badge?

    As head of the Department of Education, Nadhim Zahawi has been wearing the tl badge to promote the initiative and spread awareness of the new qualification.

    The education secretary most recently wore a tl badge during an appearance on Good Morning Britain in January 2022. Though he was not discussing the T Levels but rather being interviewed over a different government matter.

    Mr Zahawi led the debate on T Levels in parliament during November 2021. This was as part of the second reading of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill in the House of Commons.

    “I am a firm believer in T-levels,” he said. “As I have said before, I want them to become as famous as A-levels, and I want to ensure that we get them right. As many young people as possible should have the advantage of studying for and successfully completing a T-level.”

    T-Levels recently caused controversy when Mr Zahawi announced that the government were scrapping the requirements to study English and Maths.

    Previously T Level students would need to pass their English and Maths GCSE in order to pass their T Level course. However, in January 2022 the government removed this as they thought the rule was preventing students from signing up to T Levels.

    “We are absolutely clear that English and maths should remain central to T-level programmes,” the education secretary said. “But we do not want to unnecessarily inhibit talented students from accessing T-levels simply because of the additional hurdle that reaching level 2 in English and maths represents. That is why I can also announce today that we will remove the English and maths exit requirements from T-levels.”

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