How Soundwell Academy provide their students with digital skills qualifications in collaboration with CENTURY and TLM

Posted on 6th February 2024

Posted by CENTURY

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


The requirements of intense examinations and controlled assessments for Essential Digital Skills qualifications can represent a challenge for alternative provisions and their learners. These settings want to provide their learners with qualifications in digital skills, but often find they were designed with adult learners in mind and aren’t necessarily appropriate for the needs of young people growing up in the digital age. 

TLM, a recognised awarding organisation for both Essential Digital Skills and Digital Functional Skills, has come up with a more challenging certification adapted to their needs. TLM have mapped the Essential Digital Skills learning journey into CENTURY’s Digital Skills Courses. Any learner who completes either the Entry 3 or Level 1 Digital Skills courses on CENTURY, with an average score of 70% across completed nuggets, can be awarded the equivalent Entry 3 and Level 1 IT User Skills qualification. The courses on the CENTURY platform correspond to the following units in the TLM certifications: 

TLM Entry Level 3 Award in IT Open Systems and Enterprise (ITQ) Units

  • Communicating Information Using ICT
  • IT Security for users
  • Online Basics

TLM Level 1 Award in IT User Skills in Open Systems and Enterprise (ITQ) Units

  • IT Software Fundamentals
  • IT Communication Fundamentals
  • IT Security for Users 
  • Spreadsheet Software 

Learners can also achieve a certificate with any additional work they complete from the wider selection of units available (Entry 3 Unit Bank / Level 1 Unit Bank).

In addition to the qualifications above, TLM also has an IT qualification available at Entry 1, Entry 2, recognising learners may not be able to access an Entry 3 level of attainment. Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications are also available to give a coherent progress route for learners.

From Catherine Roberts, Deputy Headteacher, Soundwell Academy said:

Collaborating with TLM and CENTURY has been a game-changer for our pupils. They find the nuggets really accessible as they are relatively short, and the video option reduces the need to process a lot of writing for our learners still in the early stages of literacy. The AI interleaves new learning with reinforcement of things they are already good at. Combined with being able to work at their own pace, this has boosted students’ confidence. CENTURY and TLM also make it logistically simple for us as a school – we don’t need a teacher trying to adapt their lesson to meet a lot of spiky profiles. Instead, the pupils work independently while teachers and TAs circulate and support where necessary. They complete the qualification when they are ready and TLM accredits it without the need to sit exams. They can collect certificates for individual units as they complete them, which is very motivating. Some of our pupils who will not manage to sit GCSEs are achieving EL3 or even L1 digital skills.

From Tom Thacker, Chief Education Officer, CENTURY commented:

It is great to see awarding organisations like TLM flexing their model of assessment for those learners who need it most. Huge credit to Catherine and her team at Soundwell Academy for their drive to help their learners achieve. We’re proud that CENTURY can now not only facilitate learning, but also play a part in allowing students to gain certification.

To learn more about how to make CENTURY work in your Alternative Provision, click here. To learn more about the work of The Learning Machine, click here.