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BTEC or A Level

(29 Posts)
kappadelta Wed 11-May-16 14:23:41

I'm after some advice for my son who has just had his 6th form interview.
He has been advised by the 6th form deputy head today to do BTEC instead of A level. Now my son has had 3 A's and one B in his last assessments for science and 1 A, 2 B's and a C for maths.
He feels rather despondent as he believes that a BTEC will limit his opportunties too early in life.
Now this is an oversubscribed good comprehensive and my son is in the 'more able' cohort whatever that means!!
Additionally my son may have slipped somewhat due to having menigitis and being hospitalised back in March.

Any advice would be appreciated.

TeenAndTween Wed 11-May-16 14:42:52

Is he y11?
What grades are you expecting for his GCSES?
What A levels / BTEC is he considering?

There is a BTEC Support thread which may give you insight into BTECs if you haven't previously considered them.

The maths grades look a bit iffy for doing A level maths as most places expect an A grade at GCSE to do maths A level. Also a just scraped an A on a lucky day, would not be the same as a 'solid' A iyswim.

Doing a BTEC will rule out options, on the other hand low A level grades will rule them out too.

wannabestressfree Wed 11-May-16 14:45:00

My son has been offered a place on an architecture course with btecs rather than a levels. Hasn't stopped him at all.

kappadelta Wed 11-May-16 14:45:05

Yes hes year 11. He is wanting to do A level maths, physics and history.
His maths teacher has told him he should get an A.

TeenAndTween Wed 11-May-16 14:51:41

Personally as he is about to start GCSEs any day now I would park this until after exams are over (at least as far as he is concerned).

In the meantime, you could look into BTECs a bit, look on UCAS pages to see university course entrance requirements, look into other 6th forms and what they offer.

Then after exams have a discussion on options, likelihood of success etc.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 11-May-16 15:27:25

He can apply for both. Then decide once he gets his results.

DS1 would like to do Maths, History & Biology A-levels, which is a similar combination to your son.

For Maths, the sixth form require an A at GCSE (He got an A in the mock).
For Biology, they would prefer an A but will accept a B (He got an A in the mock).
For History, they would prefer an A but will accept a B (He got a low B in the mock).

Because his grades might be borderline, he has also applied to do a level 3 diploma at the local FE college.

noblegiraffe Wed 11-May-16 15:49:11

Why did he get a C in maths? It sounds like he could struggle with maths A-level and if he only takes 3 he won't be able to drop it very easily.

eatyourveg Wed 11-May-16 16:30:49

check out the GCSE grades needed for A levels at the local FE college, they maybe lower than at school though maths will probably always want an A

second the double application advice to cover all bases

kappadelta Wed 11-May-16 18:00:36

He got a C in one maths assessment straight after returning to school after having meningitis.

Icouldbeknitting Wed 11-May-16 20:14:40

Is he looking anywhere else? He can hold as many post 16 offers as he likes and make up his mind on enrolment day. I'd agree that right at the moment his focus needs to be on his exams, he will have more choices with better results. If he wants to study maths and physics then he needs a good result in maths. If he gets an A or a B then he will be in a stronger position than he is with a prediction of C. It's not a time for despondency but time for an attitude of "I'll show them".

kappadelta Wed 11-May-16 20:45:06

Icould- he has not been predicted a C in maths.

TeenAndTween Wed 11-May-16 21:18:26

Why has he been advised to do BTEC instead? What was their reasoning?

If he is A/B profile then generally you would expect A levels would be fine.
What information were they using? Test results showing a dip after being ill, or teacher predictions?

kappadelta Wed 11-May-16 21:24:44

Teen - the reasoning behind the Btec advice was that his predicted grade had dropped to a B in maths after his illness. They also based it on his motivation which dropped due to being absent for 3 weeks. The teacher interviewing him had no knowledge of his illness.

TeenAndTween Wed 11-May-16 22:20:01

In that case ignore it. smile

btw Places seem to let kids do 'Use of Maths' with a B, but that probably isn't good enough to 'support' physics A level (seems more usual to go with Geog or Biology kind of subjects).

He just needs to go all out for that A in maths and he'll be fine. smile

cricketballs Thu 12-May-16 05:05:10

Agree with PP - we always advice accepting multiple offers despite needing numbers in our own 6th form

In terms of your original question if he undertakes a broad spectrum BTEC i.e business then his options are wide open. Yes, Cambridge openly state they don't accept for entry, but despite MN'S opinion Oxford, Durham and the vast majority of unis accept BTEC for entry (some my request an A level as well which makes the leaked white paper linked to on another thread very worrying).

If your DS decides to go into employment after 6th form then a BTEC makes him very employable so it's not the 'dumb' qualification that it is thought of by some

kappadelta Thu 12-May-16 05:46:41

Cricket - Thanks for that he is hoping for uni to be honest. The Btec will be a science based one.

TeenAndTween Thu 12-May-16 07:50:10

Cricket I agree, BUT it is not just whether they accept BTECs, it is whether they accept them for the course the DC wishes to take and also what the BTEC grade requirements are.

OP - A BTEC is quite unforgiving in the assessment process. Each unit has Pass, Merit and Distinction criteria. If you don't meet one of the Merit criteria, even if you meet everything else for that unit, the highest you can score for that whole unit is a Pass, you get no credit for any criteria partly met. Scores for the units are added up to make the overall grade. To get the highest BTEC grade (D* D* D* for an extended diploma) you have to hit the ground running and work at a consistently high level for the two years.

OP - I strongly suggest you do some quiet research in the background on this so you understand when the BTEC would / would not be accepted.

kappadelta Thu 12-May-16 08:07:56

Teen - thank you for the advice I will be looking into that today.

Abbinob Thu 12-May-16 08:13:31

It's not a "dumb" qualification at all, but it does limit your options if he doesn't know for sure what he wants to do after 6th form. Also he can apply for a levels and if he doesn't get the grades there will most likely be spaces left kn the btec anyway if not at his school then at a local college, they usually have post results application day things at colleges, not sure about schools though.

Abbinob Thu 12-May-16 08:15:36

I did a btec for a year then realised I wasn't sure I wanted to do that subject and switched to a levels. It's good for people who are certain what subject they want to do but not so much for others

catslife Thu 12-May-16 09:00:05

Kappa I am not sure if a general Science BTEC would be that well thought of to be honest. I would double check on a few university websites to see if it would meet the entry requirements.
If he's good at Maths and Physics would possibly suggest looking at Engineering BTEC which is accepted for engineering degrees as a back-up choice.
Plenty of pupils swap A level courses after results day as some do not do as well as expected and some do much better. Given that your son's assessments have been affected by illness, hopefully he will be in the latter category. Researching additional options now though could still be worthwhile.

kappadelta Thu 12-May-16 11:27:25

Cats - Thank you for your advice he's applied for a couple of engineering courses and apprenticeships today and seems in fairly good spirits.

Abbinob Thu 12-May-16 11:30:35

Aprenticeships are usually really good, because work experience tends to be the biggest obstacle for getting a job when you're done with college and obviously he'll get that experience smile

kappadelta Thu 12-May-16 13:37:12

Abb - Thanks, some of the schemes have already got back to him which is really positive.

momb Thu 12-May-16 13:44:52

My eldest will get an A in her maths GCSE but has been advised not to do the A level because although their mental processing is fine for GCSE they doesn't take the necessary step-wise approach required to manage the greater complexity of the A level.

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