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Which route to go down for DS- Btec Extended Diploma or AS/A2s

(11 Posts)
ijustwanttobeme Wed 13-Nov-13 22:59:48

Background on DS (15)- not particularly academic, but on track to get mostly Bs and Cs-possibly A in English. From age of 5/6 has been into film, photography, making and editing short videos/films etc.

Wants to get into TV/Film production type work, but he's not sure if wants to go to Uni and do degree. Just wants to start at the bottom.

Don't want to put a downer on this, as it is his choice, but my understanding is that even the lowliest runner nowadays has a degree...

Anyhoo, he's considering his ASs atm, and he is drawn to: music technology, media studies, English and poss drama or photography.

What do you think of these as a group? I know they're all considered soft subjects, except English, but given his GCSE predicted grades, would getting good grades at AS/A2 be a push for him?

There is also a Btec Creative Media extended diploma course ( equiv of 3 A levels). Benefit of this of course, is no exams- all coursework/portfolio type assessments.

We have looked at some entry requirements at uni's that do TV/ Film courses and many of them accept BTec qualification. So doing that won't exclude him from applying- although we are aware it might do so from some of the more respected uni's

Just want advise please. TIA

sashh Thu 14-Nov-13 09:26:43

Go for the BTEC. As well as UCAS points he will build a portfolio of work he can talk about at interviews.

Letslet Thu 14-Nov-13 13:13:28

Hi we are facing a similar dilemma with my DS (although not media but btec sport as he wants to be a P E teacher) . If I am honest I want him to do A levels just so he keeps his options open . I feel anxious about him closing doors too early and worry he may wake up one day and say he dosent want to be a P E teacher anymore but wants to be an Accountant or something. I am scared though that A levels may be too difficult for him . He presently attends a private school where quite a few pupils quit/ changed courses after getting low AS levels this year and I worry this might be us in the future. Sorry haven't been much help but just wanted you to know you are not alone with this dilemma.

lightahead Thu 14-Nov-13 13:45:56

My DS1 left school in 2012 with 11 gcses grades 1a the rest b and c. He went to 6th form and started a/s levels hated it(as predicted by mum but let him make own decision). This year started level 3 btec in sports science, enjoying it. The work is not easier he currently has 4 long and detailed assignments on the go, he is also doing 1 a level in human biology as part of his course. If distinctions are obtained the UCAS points are generally equal to at least a B at A level. His college regularly have students going to Loughborough.

lightahead Thu 14-Nov-13 13:47:11

Sorry don't mean one B at A level but 3

LittleSiouxieSue Thu 14-Nov-13 14:48:03

We looked at the cinema and photography BA course at Leeds and they offered 3 Bs at A level but one had to be an essay subject, eg English or similar. They were happy with Photography and Art being the other two. You would need to know whether the Btec gives an equivalent of a B in an essay subject at A level. If you aim lower than this and do not have to worry about an essay subject, I would add photography A level into the BTEC mix as this is a valuable A level regarding course entry as it will show proficiency in the use of a camera and obviously he could get an A* not just a B. I would do the music tech if he was more interested in the music side of the industry but you have plenty of music graduates who may be better qualified to do this. I would investigate as many courses as possible and find out what their employment rates are. Like most careers these days, starting at the bottom with just enthusiasm, does not appear to be good enough.

I think it is difficult for students with Bs and Cs at GCSE to get good A levels, eg Bs. Even an A in English is not guaranteed to get a B at A level. Could he get into a suitable course with Cs and Ds at A level? Apart from English, is he doing any of the proposed A level subjects at GCSE? I think I would suggest the BTEC route but I would get as much info about suitable courses and what qualifications they prefer before making a definite choice.

TeenAndTween Thu 14-Nov-13 20:30:46

We too are looking at this for DD1. Likely to gets Bs and Cs, maybe 1 A. Trouble is, she doesn't even have a career area in mind so looking at vocational courses is hard.

creamteas Thu 14-Nov-13 20:38:32

It is a hard decision.

The majority of universities are likely to accept BTECs for creative industry related degrees. So if he is likely to do better in coursework I would think this is a better option. A good BTEC is worth more than weaker A levels.

The downside is of course that whilst with A levels you can still hedge your bets with a range of subjects, but if this has been pretty consistent, then that should be ok.

ijustwanttobeme Thu 14-Nov-13 21:40:31

Cream teas: good BTecs are worth more than weak ALevels

This is what I've been trying to explain to DS.

He's worried that colleges / potential employers will dismiss his BTec, so feels he should do ALevels.

I think also his issue is that his DSis did traditional ALevels and so he feels he should do them too.

I don't want to push him into doing something he doesn't want to do, but at the same time I don't want him to struggle and by November / December, regretting his decision.

Not easy this parenting lark is it?

cricketballs Thu 14-Nov-13 21:57:58

I let my DS decide himself which route to take when he faced this same decision. He was a B grade student at GCSE and went down the A Level route....after his AS results he realised that this wasn't the best decision (1 E and 2 Us). He enrolled onto a BTEC National Diploma in Business (after a few nudges from me not to specialise, i.e. Travel & Tourism) and this has been his salvation. He has gone from someone who thought half way through year 1 that he was just going to get a job to someone who has applied to universities to do a marketing degree.

He has received offers from some very top universities in this field and is very excited about his future

My take is without being biased as a teacher of BTEC is that students need to study the qualifications/subjects that they can excel in rather than what is expected grin

ijustwanttobeme Mon 18-Nov-13 21:46:45

We have reached a kind of stalemate.

I asked today if he could do the creative media BTec and English ALevel...head of year 11 said, 'ooh I don't know, will have to get back to you'.

In meantime, DS asked if media
A level was a better option than the BTec and his media teacher said, BTec is only for less able students. That's not what he said at the sixth form open evening!!

As a result of above comments, DS's Brit school application to do the BTec there- with all the contacts and opportunities that happen just by being at that school ( know this from friends DCs who went there); which was due to be submitted is now on hold- DS is saying doesn't want to even send it off.

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