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A Level v BTEC

(9 Posts)
potentialqualms Fri 07-Oct-16 17:46:54

I seem to be having trouble getting unbiased advice about which would be better for DS. He's not helping as he doesn't really have any ideas about what he wants to do at the end of the 2 years.

He's always enjoyed going to school, always been well behaved but (I feel) has been one of those average, quiet, never causes anyone any trouble children, who has been largely ignored. Whatever the reason, for his first 3.5 years in secondary he did as little as he could get away with, which wasn't much.

Towards the end of yr 10, he did start to realise the value of working and his results improved a lot. For example at the start of the year he was in set 3 for maths and heading only to be entered for the foundation paper in Stats (which they take in yr10). During the last term he was put up a set, entered for the higher paper at the last minute and achieved an A, despite being in a class that was only being taught the foundation syllabus for most of the year. He did however do a lot of work with his Grandparents to make up for what he'd missed in class. He didn't achieve it all on his own, but was happy to do the work and grateful for the help.

He took a written subject in yr 10 also and achieved a B.

Anyway, prior to that we'd started to think that University probably wasn't for him, that we'd be glad of 5 Cs and an apprenticeship or similar might suit him best. Now he's talking about Maths, Physics and Statistics A-Levels. He says now he "gets" maths he's really enjoying all those subjects. I know they'll be properly tough and probably only really suited to people who find Maths easy, not those who've had to work at it?

He could get a place to study them with Bs at GCSE, which he now seems to be on track to get, but I always thought you really need to have achieved at least As to have a chance in those subjects at A Level? Again, he could get As but will have to work really hard.

The alternative would be either Computer Gaming BTEC, or Public Service BTEC. The gaming bothers me because whilst he does play some games he's never seem particularly interested in computers e.g my 15yo asks me to help sort technical issues! The Public Services course sounds a lot of fun but seems to be aimed at less able students?

What would you advise in his position? He seems to be between your "traditional" A level/University material and the group that many of the BTECs are aimed at. Or am I being unkind about the BTECs?

LIZS Fri 07-Oct-16 17:50:43

I don't think you are being unkind and both those tend to attract less academic and motivated students, who are marking time until they are 18. Unless he specifically wants a career in police, fire etc I wouldn't encourage public services and even then there are other routes in which might keep a broader range of options open.

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Oct-16 17:57:20

I wouldn't advise he takes maths A-level with a B at GCSE (is he heading for a 6?) as the most likely outcome would be dropping out or failing. Statistics GCSE doesn't have an algebra in it, so while he got an A, that doesn't indicate a strength in the particular area of maths he needs to be good at to cope at A-level.

If he works hard at his algebra and gets a 7, that's great, but he would also need to work his socks off at A-level. The fact that it's a subject he wants to take is a good start.

potentialqualms Fri 07-Oct-16 17:57:47

Yes, I think I'd already come round to that view LIZS, thank you. I'm worried about the Alevels too though as, until very recently he really wasn't what you could call "academic" and these are tough subjects. I don't want to tell him he shouldn't even try but I don't want him to waste 2 years on a course he can't pass either.

potentialqualms Fri 07-Oct-16 18:00:04

Sorry XP noblegriaffe. I tend to agree with you (I did Maths and Physics A-level myself) but despite my love for those subjects I'd never been able to inspire him. This has come completely out of the blue.

However, if he doesn't belong on an A level course, where does he belong.?

LIZS Fri 07-Oct-16 18:02:22

What other extended level 3 btecs interest him, does he have any idea what he might like to do longer term?

titchy Fri 07-Oct-16 18:09:15

What about the BTEC Extended Dip in Science? Or Engineering?

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Oct-16 18:18:20

The engineering BTEC has plenty of maths. Or if he wants to keep up with maths but not at A-level, the Core maths qualification might suit (it's an AS over two years taken alongside other subjects, and is practical maths rather than algebra).

Computer gaming BTEC sounds like it might appeal to people who like playing X-box, but games design would require an interest in programming rather than Call of Duty.

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Oct-16 18:35:32

Have you looked at our BTEC Thread ? Quite a few people on there slowly getting more knowledgeable about the whole BTEC stuff.

There is a world of difference between the 2 BTECs you mentioned. There are other more general computing ones, or business perhaps?

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