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Change from BTEC to A levels - possible funding issue?

(21 Posts)
Candlelight1969 Mon 26-Jan-15 18:03:12

My DS is doing a BTEC L3 Ext in ICT but hates the college and is hugely de-motivated. He's talking of seeing out the year but doing A Levels instead next year at a different college. The issue is that he repeated a year at school (when changing schools) so he would be 18 when the A Levels started. I've been told that the college may not provide funding to do a two year A Level course because he's already done a year on a BTEC. Is there any truth in this?

Velvetbee Mon 26-Jan-15 18:10:53

It's possible. Can you email the admissions officer at the new college to ask, then you can plan accordingly. And if they would accept him you then have it in writing, so you can get stern if they later back-track. (Voice of experience).

headlesslambrini Mon 26-Jan-15 18:34:51

I think it will depend on his circumstances at the time of enrolment. If he was signing on or claiming certain benefits then he could possibly access the course without paying. He might be charged admin / exam fees but generally the cost of the course is covered. Look on the college website under there adults courses, you should find more information there.

titchy Mon 26-Jan-15 18:51:46

Yes unfortunately there is truth in it. There is funding for three years for 16-19 year olds, so one year can be repeated if things go pear shaped. He will have used his third year of funding doing the first year of A levels so the college would not receive any funding for his second year. Can he go to an FE college and pay full fees the same as other adults there?

Candlelight1969 Mon 26-Jan-15 19:27:17

Thanks for all the advice. I think he should stick at the BTEC because IT is what he is best at (apart from eating noodles and watching box sets and films!). However, he did the BTEC largely because I thought it was the best option for him yet he wishes he did A Levels all along. I'll make enquiries at College to see what funding is available should he decide to switch. I guess he could always do A Levels at night school if it came to that.

sashh Tue 27-Jan-15 08:43:57

Not a lot of A Levels are done as evening classes. If he obtains a 'full level 3' qualification he will bot be funded for A Levels as they are both Level 3 qualifications.

Talk to the college he wants to go to, they may have a suggestion. And just because there is no official funding doesn't mean the college can't fund him via hardship funds, or if that fails often groups like the round table have money available.

If you search for 'fairy godmother funding' on here you will find a reply I gave a while ago about getting further funding.

Caronaim Sun 01-Feb-15 17:53:57

Cn he change to A levels in the college he is in? It is possible for colleges to fund a very small number of students themselves. If they know the student, he is a good student, and they understand his reasons for changing, it might be possible. Also, he might be able to start A level work now.

it is unlikely though, so I don't want to get your hopes up. These college funded places are normally only offered for someone who has missed school through hospitalisation, or similar. Still could be worth approaching them and asking.

Candlelight1969 Sun 01-Feb-15 18:37:25

Thanks, i think part of the problem is that he doesn't like (I mean really doesn't like) the college he's at. If his heart's set on changing, then i don't mind, if its' for the right reasons, but I suspect he's considering it because, he doesn't like the college, he feels BTECs are worth less than A levels and virtually all his friends are doing A Levels. Hey, ho, wasn't live easier when they were younger.....(although it didn't seem easy at the time:-))

Caronaim Sun 01-Feb-15 18:38:52

well in that case, probably not then. He is entitled to a certain number of years free education, and he's had it.

Kez100 Sun 24-May-15 23:26:02

Does he have the GCSE grades to do A levels?

namechange0dq8 Sat 30-May-15 16:33:33

he feels BTECs are worth less than A levels

He's right. Sorry.

Kez100 Sat 30-May-15 17:19:04


True they won't get you into Cambridge - but then neither with A levels unless they are A,A,A*. Students thinking of BTEC versus A levels will not be Cambridge material. It won't get you into Medicine, Vet or Mathematics - but, again, the students asking the question are extremely unlikely to be capable of these degrees such is the competition.

Some BTECs will be less good than others but .......

I did a BTEC and am a FCA with my own practice. College mates have various careers - another FCA with her own practice and a management accountant.

BTEC for the creative and vocational industries are an extremely good route - if not better.

I've lived all my life with this prejudice but, of my four mates, I have realised my potential whereas none of the others did. I additionally had passion, motivation and drive - that matters as much as your level 3 choice of academic qualifications.

namechange0dq8 Sat 30-May-15 21:04:27

True they won't get you into Cambridge

Or, for practical purposes, any selective STEM degree which requires or has as desirable A Level maths. BTEC ICT, which is the topic here, is now pretty much universally rejected by strong computer science departments.

mumeeee Mon 01-Jun-15 18:06:29

namechange you are wrong more universities are now accepting BTEC extended Diploma in ICT as an alternative to A levels. In fact BTECs in general are now universally accepted. Unless that has changed in the last two years.

PandaMummyofOne Mon 01-Jun-15 18:19:35

It's at the discretion of the college. There is zero funding currently from the government. Because he's already complete year one he officially has a level 3 qualification. Whether it is a full L3 or not. Currently the policy I've been given today for recruiting my new Learners, this situation would be a no. But each college is different so you would need to ask.

PandaMummyofOne Mon 01-Jun-15 18:21:51

And name change, no BTECs are rejected! They are the equivalent but a vocational route. Not the traditional a-level route. Neither route is right or wrong it's what is best for the learner.

In seven years I've lost count of the number of HE references I've written for my Learners or the graduations I've attended (only one supporting them, no family, etc etc)

Kez100 Mon 01-Jun-15 21:53:35

There is more than one BTEC ICT anyway. Software streams and general practice streams.

I loved my BTEC and so did my DD. My son is loving his and doing very well. I'm sorry they are going to continue to live with the prejudices I have had too!

FozzieMK Thu 04-Jun-15 10:22:17

My DD is half way through her level 3 extended BTEC in IT. It seems most of the students go on to Uni to study computing or to very good apprenticeships, one recently with Microsoft. To say they are worthless is ridiculous!

mumeeee Thu 04-Jun-15 11:38:13

FozzieMK. You are right. BTECs are not useless. 2 of my DDs got into uni with a BTEC. DD3 did BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT. She is now finishing her 2nd year of a computer degree.

Kez100 Fri 05-Jun-15 10:05:07

If a BTEC is rejected (be that Cambridge, or whatever) then it is highly likely that particular degree course content is unsuitable to the type of learner that would choose a BTEC level 3.

Conversely, 3 A* in Maths, Chemistry and Further Maths won't get you onto a high quality, competitive degree in Art and Design. (If you happen to have those qualification - it will still be the BTEC/Foundation degree portfolio that gets you in).

Luckily, those designing degree courses have a far less blinkered view of the world and realise we need a cross section of skills in the real world from students with a cross section of academic versus vocational ability. I trust the Universities to write their application requirements to suit their course, so the students thrive and choose the right route.

That is why A levels are not better than BTEC. They are different and it doesn't particularly help when people try and assess one as better than the other. The answer to what is better depends on the student, their academic versus vocational bent and their intended career.

Some careers sit somewhere in the middle and I would venture to say mine, accountancy, is one of those. It needs a certain level of academic ability but equally, in reality, its a very vocational job and all the professional examinations require not just the exam passes but practical experience too. Their final examination is a case study, which puts theory into practice. I went the BTEC route, as did another course mate. Many of my friends in the industry chose to go the A level route. You can even go AAT route and with that you can miss out on BTEC L3 or A levels completely (or not).

Sorry I have gone on a bit but I do get very annoyed at those that simply give a concrete "A levels are best" answer. It depends on so much more.

My biggest concern for the OP would not be A levels versus BTEC but the lack of motivation and not being happy where he is because both are important to achieve potential.

Donthate Wed 08-Jul-15 14:52:04

Our college would accept him. Ring a few to see.

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