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What's the diff between BTEC Art and GCSE Art?

(17 Posts)
fraggleroc Wed 17-Jun-15 21:30:51

My eldest has 2 choices at school for Art. BTEC Art & Design, or GCSE Art. She wants to do either art, music, or foreign languages in College/Uni in future. She doesn't want to do any other stuff at all, she says.

I'm just wondering which is the best Art course for her goals? I've tried Googling and found a mix of opinions. Some people say GCSEs hold more prestige than BTECs (and this was even mentioned on the TES forum), but others say that for the Art or Design industry, they value the BTEC Art more than GCSE, as the BTEC Art prepares the student better for working life in the art and design industry.

Does anyone know more about this?

WixingMords Wed 17-Jun-15 21:33:50

I had always thought a BTEC was more on a par with A levels.

Sorry not very helpful of me!!

OttilieKnackered Wed 17-Jun-15 21:40:21

You can have BTEC at A level equivalent or GCSE equivalent. I'm not an art expert by any means, but I'd generally always encourage a GCSE over a BTEC, unless she is likely to struggle academically.

BTECs suffer from a reputation (rightly in many people's opinion) of being 'easier' - they are mostly/solely coursework and so the opportunities to redraft are many and easier to fiddle.

catslife Thu 18-Jun-15 08:33:26

If she would like to study Art beyond GCSE level then she should really take this subject at GCSE.
Level 2 BTEC is roughly equivalent to a GCSE grade C in a subject. So to progress further she would probably need at least a B (preferably an A) in Art so will need the GCSE to reach these higher grades. (There is also level 1 BTEC that is only equivalent to grades below C and is aimed at the lowest ability pupils).
Post 16 it is possible to take a level 3 BTEC and this is the level that is more highly regarded and seen as equivalent to A levels.
Hope that helps with the decision.

fraggleroc Thu 18-Jun-15 13:24:21

I'm not sure how easy it would be for her to get an A or B in GCSE Art. Did a quick Google of Art degree entry requirements in some Unis and found a few places saying they prefer students to have completed BTEC Level 3 Art or Foundation Degree in Art before applying, even if they have the requisite 3 A levels and 5 GCSEs.

Some are happy just to accept the BTEC Level 3 Art and a few GCSEs. Saw one that said Art A Level at grade A or B is acceptable in lieu of the Art BTEC L3/ Foundation Degree. Seems like the Art BTEC L3 is the Foundation Degree... Or equivalent.

Probably only specific to Art though. But daughter not 100% certain she will go into Art. She is maybe 70% on it. If she was very certain she wants to do Art, then it seems like it would be okay to just do the Art BTEC all the way to L3.

cricketballs Thu 18-Jun-15 14:24:59

Catslife - BTEC has passed, merit, distinction and distinction* awards, which are equivalent to C, B, A, and A*

Ottilie - the new assessment criteria no longer allows 're-drafts'

NewsreaderChic Thu 18-Jun-15 14:29:19

In general people do a foundation course before a degree, it's not absolutely necessary but thought to be the best route. My dd is more than likely to do an art degree and I wouldn't encourage her to do a btec over a GCSE.

titchy Thu 18-Jun-15 15:25:32

Either will be absolutely fine. Look at the syllabus for both and see which one inspires her the most.

fraggleroc Thu 18-Jun-15 18:16:54

So it is possible to get an A* equivalent to a GCSE while doing a BTEC? That's better news for us I guess. But if my daughter decides not to do Art in college/uni, would the Art BTEC grade substitute for a GCSE grade to meet entry criteria? Or is this down to individual institutions and courses?

Newsreaderchic, do you knlw what other degrees require foundation courses if candidates already have the requisite GCSEs and A levels (esp if in relevant subjects to the degree)? I didn't do one before I went to Uni and don't know anyone who did one before going into Uni. I am surprised this is the case for Art but if so, so be it.

fraggleroc Thu 18-Jun-15 18:25:28

Titchy I am looking at the syllabi now. Thanks for reminding me.

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 18-Jun-15 18:33:37

BTEC level 3 is considered equivalent to A levels. Lots of students with BTEC then go straight to degree. Many Art related degree courses encourage students with A level Art to do a foundation year before hand, because then they get to try lots of kinds of Art, and sometimes craft, which helps them to choose the right course at university. They also get the chance to prepare a really good portfolio.

My DD did A levels and was adamant she was going to do a Fine Art degree, but after a year of foundation has decided instead on Graphic Design. However, already having her A levels meant that a couple of her offers were unconditional, and she got to experiment with less pressure on her foundation result.

fraggleroc Thu 18-Jun-15 18:54:59

Have had a quick scan of the syllabi. The Art BTEC Level 2 seems to cover a lot more aspects than the Art GCSE. Quite a lot too about working in the industry and it covers the basics of each of the different strands of the Art industry like graphic design, 3D design, fashion design, etc. Will show my daughter later. I am not sure she wants Fine Art or to work in design industries. The Art GCSE syllabus seems to lean towards Fine Arts whereas the BTEC leans towards design industries (a different ball game to Fine Arts, from what I know from a few contacts who have been working as designers for years).

At the same time I get that choosing a BTEC at this stage may limit her options.

titchy Thu 18-Jun-15 19:02:56

Some A level subjects require students to have done the GCSE, some will also require particular grades - this is at discretion of college/school sixth form, but typically subjects like languages A level will need GCSE in that language. Maths A level will need probably an A at GCSE.

You'd need to check sixth form requirements specifically, but as long as the BTEC art portfolio was of decent quality I can't see why it wouldn't be acceptable to do Art A level. If her portfolio was more graphic design or photography based, and she wanted to do mainly fine art at A level, that might be an issue but as long as she's aware of that she can tweak her portfolio accordingly.

None art degrees - no foundation year normally required, apart from a few arrangements some universities have with specific colleges for students who are weaker academically.

Art degrees - entrance portfolio dependent. A fairly broad portfolio is needed, photography, textiles, fine art and lots of different mediums used. A level art doesn't give students enough time to produce a sufficiently broad portfolio, so applicants with Art A level tend to do a foundation year in order to give them the breadth of experience. However if she doesn't do A levels she could do a BTEC extended diploma in Art - extended diplomas are equivalent to three A levels (also graded pass, merit, distinction and distinction star), and do give students time to produce the broad portfolio required for art degrees.

Hope that's clear!

cricketballs Fri 19-Jun-15 05:29:51

Op, having a BTEC level 2 in art will not limit her options

catslife Fri 19-Jun-15 08:37:19

Apologies for the confusion - dds school only offers level 1 BTECs which are aimed at the lower ability pupils and do limit future options.
Provided the course offered is level 2 then that should be OK.

fraggleroc Fri 19-Jun-15 23:45:11

I appreciate all the information given. They have definitely given us a better perspective which will enable us to make a decision. DD has not had a look yet as she's been busy but I will pass on the info to her. It is a Level 2 BTEC btw.

GasLIghtShining Sat 20-Jun-15 18:53:29

If she is keen to go onto L3 BTEC then doing a L2 will be helpful in that she will understand how the BTEC system works. My DS found it useful (not art thought)

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