BTECs: what is happening to them?


BTEC qualifications are currently available to pupils across a range of subjects. BTEC stands for the (Business and Technology Education Council). 

UCAS explains there are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications available from entry level through to professional qualifications.

Pearson explains that BTECs are a flexible option – pupils can choose to study a BTEC alongside academic qualifications like GCSE or A level, or as a full- or part-time course at college or university.

It also notes that throughout the course pupils work on a series of assignments set in real-life scenarios, developing the practical knowledge and skills employers and universities are looking for. 

In this support article, we look at what is happening to BTECs and look at schools and colleges offering BTECs. 

BTECs: will funding be removed?

The Department for Education (DfE) plans to make A Levels and their new technical alternative, T Levels, the main further education qualifications at age 16 in England. 

They’ll sit alongside apprenticeships. Funding for other current post-GCSE options, including most BTECs, will be removed by 2025.

We have published another support article which provides an overview on the topic of T-Levels.

The Government will create two pathways for post-16 progression. The academic route centred on A Levels is intended to lead to further study. The technical route will mean T Levels become the main qualification option for young people wanting to enter skilled employment (that requires specialist training or expertise).

T Levels are expected to be fully available across England by 2024/25. Funding will be removed from overlapping qualifications from 2023, and all academic and technical qualifications deemed superfluous to the new system will be defunded by 2025/26.

However, Further Education Week reported in November 2021 that Michelle Donelan MP, who took on a joint HE and FE brief following September’s reshuffle, appeared to water down the agenda during an education select committee hearing.

She said: “I would like to bust a myth here, because the media has sold a story that we are abolishing all BTECs and there will be a binary choice between A-levels and T Levels, which is certainly not the direction of travel.

“We know that many BTECs produce excellent outcomes for young people and for people later on in life. However, there have been various studies, including the welfare review, which showed that some of them are not of a good enough quality; the quality that we would want our own children or our own constituents to be taking. It is right that we take stock of it and we review it.”

We will update this support article when there are further updates made on this topic.

BTECs: what are schools and colleges offering?

Cardinal Newman College in Lancashire offers a range of BTEC qualifications. Its range of courses includes BTEC Extended Diplomas which are the equivalent to three A-Levels, BTEC Diplomas which are the equivalent to two A-Levels and BTEC Extended Certificates which are equivalent to one A-Level. 

This means that you can choose to study just one subject if you take a BTEC Extended Diploma, or a combination of subjects if you choose a Diploma or Extended Certificate.

Level 3 BTEC courses offered include:

  • Applied law
  • Applied psychology
  • Applied science
  • Business studies
  • Music production
  • Travel and tourism

Cadbury College in Birmingham has a selection of BTEC qualifications on offer. The college explains that because BTEC courses are vocational in nature they are more practical routes of academic study.

Each course will have a larger coursework element to the assessment method. 

All courses are studied at Level 3 meaning they are suited to progression into University or Higher-Level Apprenticeships. Courses come in different sizes and are the equivalent to either one or two A Levels. 

To study a Level 3 course you will need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4. You can also study BTECs alongside A Level courses if you meet the entry requirements.

BTECs on offer include:

  • Engineering
  • Health and Social Care (Diploma Level 3 Double)
  • IT (Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended)
  • Travel and Tourism Level 3

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