A Levels V BTEC for dyslexic ds

(21 Posts)
KLdragon Sat 28-Sep-13 12:27:06

I have a dyslexic year 11 ds and we are just starting to think what he will be doing post GCSE. We are overseas at the moment so there is limited choice here. He is presently at a quite academic school where although he is holding his own I do wonder wether it will be an appropriate choice for sixth form . There is no alternative offered to A levels so if he wanted to do a btec we would have to look back in the UK.
He is presently looking at getting 8/9 gcses probably a mix of b's and c's with if all the stars are aligned and the gods smiling an outside chance of a couple of a's .
I'm torn between thinking I should push him to do a levels, to thinking that maybe btecs are the best option given his dyslexia. This decision is made harder by the fact that it may mean a move back to the uK so we need to plan early. What are universities opinion of btecs , are they still regarded as equivalent to a levels. Anyone with children who did btecs and have got into good universities or struggled with a levels and switched to btecs . Anyone regretted their child not doing a levels?
Deep down I think I feel btecs would be best for ds but I don't want to sell him short.

creamteas Sat 28-Sep-13 12:37:40

BTECs are acceptable to most universities but, just like A levels, they need to be in the right subject for the degree.

One disadvantage of them is that whereas you can hedge your bets with three or four AS subjects, most BTECs are disciplinary based. So they narrow down university choices in that way, if you see what I mean.

BTECs are also counted in the equivalences for student number controls so DDM, for example, will have a greater chance of getting a good university place than someone on BBB at A level.

fancyanother Sat 28-Sep-13 12:40:54

There are some universities that don't accept Btec. (The Russell Group ones, mainly) but they would require all A's at A Level and at GCSE as well, I would think. Most of the others accept Btec as 3 A Level equivalent if you do the Diploma (Make sure it's an 18 unit Btec). It really depends on whether your child gets on with exams or coursework really. The pressure with the Btec is all the way through the year, with coursework due in every week, virtually for one or other of the units. Added to that, some people don't think it is a challenging course, even though, as someone who has taught both, I think they are equally as challenging, if not more, due to the constant pressure. Sorry not very helpful on the regrets front, as my Lo's are really little, so the whole system would have changed a thousand times by the time they get to do it!

nostress Sat 28-Sep-13 12:54:57

Hi, what is your son interested in doing as a subject. My son is in year 11, has dyspraxia, predicted all a-c's in GCSE(mostly b/cs though!), he is also doing a BTEC in acting. He is predicted a distinction in this. He is at a performing arts school and will stay on to do the higher level BTEC next year. Many of the kids in his school are SUPER talented in music, art, dance etc and lots also have a SEN. I think its great that BTECs exist so that children can excel in what they are good at. That said there is still alot of written work in his BTEC but he does it all on the computer/ipad.

I have no oubts ths is right for him he is just not the Russell group toe!

nostress Sat 28-Sep-13 12:56:59

Oh yes and he will do an additional a'level along with his BTEC...

headlesslambrini Sat 28-Sep-13 12:57:13

career wise, what is he thinking of?

creamteas Sat 28-Sep-13 13:37:55

There are some universities that don't accept Btec

I have never mange to find any university that does not accept BTECs, even Oxford and Cambridge will accept them (eg here).

They may not be acceptable for certain courses, but the they are never universally dismissed

Kez100 Sat 28-Sep-13 13:57:27

BTEC (at Level 3) is vocational and does need a lot of consistent, independent hard work but, with that, you can avoid exams.

A Levels hard work study wise but the odd bad essay or whatever won't affect your grade. For that advantage, you have to be able to produce the work in exams.

Is she better at coursework or exams?

The subject matters a bit too:

For example Art and Design, extended diploma BTECs offer the chance to go straight onto a degree whereas A level Art students are more often advised to do a foundation diploma first.

However, I would imagine medicine would work the other way!

KLdragon Sun 29-Sep-13 08:57:37

Thanks for all the replies he wold be looking at doing a sport related btec. He is very athletic and a great all rounder so it wold definately suit his skills but just a bit scared he might be narrowing his options too early. Good to hear btecs are still widely accepted by unis though. I think the course work side wold be useful as he does struggle with hand writing and presentation and I am a bit scared that examiners won't be able to read his writing in an exam situation at least with course work you can work on your presentation over longer than 3 hours

KLDragon your DS sounds very much like my DD and we are going through the same thought process. We visited Hartpury College Open Morning yesterday and they offer lots of sports courses - specifically a couple of Level 3 extended BTECs, which are equivalent to 3 A levels and are suitable for the reasonably academically able, which is where I'd guess our DCs are. They have around 600 residential places for 16 - 18 year olds. Tuition is free but you pay for the accommodation. Might this be something worth considering? It is a fantastic place and I think we will be applying.

KLdragon Sun 29-Sep-13 12:16:48

Thanks for the heads up mother of girls I will google hartpury now

Kez100 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:23:25

My daughter is studying BTEC is a subject she has a passion for - on the basis that immersing herself for two years in the subject would really help her decide if it was for her.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 29-Sep-13 13:19:41

Does he get extra time in exams, he should if his processing and working memory are below average. DD is dyslexic and dyspraxic and just did very well in AS (academic essay subjects) better than at GCSE.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 29-Sep-13 16:14:51

I should add I think quite often working at the higher level the strengths of being dyslexic / dyspraxic, thinking holistically etc come into their own. Dds writing is also terrible, she said she felt sorry for the examiner, and very slow but she obviously got what she needed to get down with the extra time. Your DS might also benefit from using a laptop, my DD finds it harder but a lot of dyslexics/dyspraxics do benefit. I would have thought that with the potential to get As at GCSE he should not dismiss A levels unless there are real positive reasons to do BTECs and specialise early, especially given you will be uprooting the family. I am sure universities do consider them but A levels might give him more flexibility and choice when it comes to courses and unis. DD has just changed her choice of course and unis in the middle of completing her application!

Lulaloo Sun 29-Sep-13 16:58:41

My son has just started an BTEC extended level 3 diploma in sport (outdoor education ) at Hartpury equiv to 3 As.
He too got all c's and b's and we felt the length of writing and exams required would be too much for him, he worked so hard to get the grades that he did!
Hartpury have lots of sports courses -at that level you need 5 a-c inc english and maths.
Lots of assignments already so we are helping him to pace himself! But he is loving it - very practical course
We are fortunate to only live 15 miles away so he commutes every day but live in facilities are good and lots on his course are living in.
Keep googling! Do your research.Lots of courses run taster sessions but you need to book in early to get on them.
There are lots of brilliant courses available around the country you just need to search them all out and look for what suits the best for your child. Good Luck!

mumeeee Sun 29-Sep-13 23:05:47

DD3 is Dyspraxic and did BTECH extended Diploma in IT. She has just started Bolton Uni doing a computing Degree. Most unis do now except BTECHs

friday16 Mon 30-Sep-13 09:04:41

I have never mange to find any university that does not accept BTECs

On paper, at least. It would be worth asking how many people actually get into selective courses with BTECs. Obviously there's an air of self-selection to that, because the set of people who are in general capable of securing a Russell Group place but take BTECs rather than A Levels is small and inhomogenous with the A Level cohort, and therefore it's not easy to draw conclusions from the raw statistics. Aside from anything else, not many people will be doing BTECs rather than A Level but also have sufficiently compelling GCSE results to make it through the initial cut.

Good to hear your DS is enjoying Hartpury, Lulaloo. We have just applied for the next taster for our DD. Can you tell me approximately what percentage of students are residential on your DS's course? We also live quite close but DD is keen to be residential as she has been at boarding school for some time and enjoys the work / home divide. Local students are only considered for accommodation at the end of August after all others have been allocated beds, so she would really need to commit without knowing whether she would live in or not. I'm hoping this won't put her off - and I'm quietly hoping she will live at home!!!!

sashh Mon 30-Sep-13 10:27:14

* at least with course work you can work on your presentation over longer than 3 hours*

And use a word processor

Lulaloo Mon 30-Sep-13 18:13:15

Mog around one third are residents on his particular course but varies from course to course he has people from Plymouth on his course.
He thought that he might like to live in but changed his mind after staying for 2 days on the taster. It was very cold and not a lot to do for under 18's as they cannot go in the bars etc although they do put activities on for them. Also as you know it is in a beautiful place but the middle of nowhere! We live in the next big town and they arrange good transport for the students. She may well change her mind after the taster, it is good that she is on it. Good luck!

BestIsWest Mon 30-Sep-13 20:44:01

Interesting thread. I have a dyslexic DS in year 11 and I'm hoping for similar results to the OP. We've been having similar discussions re A level vs BTEC. He excels at English and Media and is very 'arty'. Really struggles with essay based work though so I've been wondering whether BTEC is the way to go.

DD, also dyslexic, took the A level route and ended up with mixed results but did scrape into a reasonable university where she is doing really well now.

Just wanted to add too that her GCSE results were mostly Bs and Cs with one A but she did get an offer from a RG Uni (Cardiff).

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