(18 Posts)
ShaggyRug Mon 21-Jan-19 17:14:16

Can anyone tell me, in year 11, is a BTEC ‘worth’ the same as a GCSE?

DD has some choices to make between BTEC courses and GCSE courses but I’m getting conflicting info.

Is a BTEC at this stage as valuable as a GCSE?

OP’s posts: |
clary Mon 21-Jan-19 19:02:00

If he has the ability and can deal with the exams I would recommend GCSE. BTECs are goid for those who struggle with exams/memory and prefer sonething coursework based.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 21-Jan-19 19:14:15

Provided it is a Level 2 BTEC it is at the same as a GCSE, but it does mean you can't say '10 GCSE passes' you'd have to say '9 GCSEs, 1 L2 BTEC'.

Benefit is more ongoing assessment, and less on final exams, which also means less total revision at the end of y11 so more time available for the GCSEs.

Something like PE or Food may have a greater practical element (and less theory) at BTEC than the equivalent GCSE, which may feel more useful and interesting. So if both are offered for the same subject, definitely worth understanding the difference.

Another benefit is if the DC is likely to not progress on to A levels but do BTECs at college. Then understanding how a BTEC works would enable them to hit the ground running (which is beneficial as all assignments count).

clary Mon 21-Jan-19 19:36:00

Meant to say, fewer BTECs offered at KS4 now as they don't count to progress 8. My old school found Animal Care which did and it was very popular and a, great thing to offer. I'm not anti BTEC, they are really good for less academic students who can achieve sthg, instead of getting 1 or U in GCSE.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 21-Jan-19 19:39:36

I wish DD's school did Animal Care - she'd pick it #1 choice.
(I think she might well do it at college).

clary Mon 21-Jan-19 20:09:12

It was great, we had goats and pigs and rabbits 😁 a student in my form with various physical and learning issues (she was so lovely) really enjoyed it and went on to a animal-related apprenticeship 😁😁

ShaggyRug Tue 22-Jan-19 16:43:56

Thanks all that’s really helpful. Much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |


cricketballs3 Tue 22-Jan-19 17:15:21

BTECs usually get bad completely inaccurate comments on MN...

However - BTEC L1/2 is equivalent to a GCSE, with a distinction being equivalent to a 7, distinction* a 8.5 at GCSE.

The new specs have a much larger weighting with the external assessment, but they still have coursework elements. The assessment of the coursework has also become far more moderated by Pearson as to national standards being applied.

For a lot of students, a lot of subjects it is a far better course than GCSE as it allows students to develop skills rather than pure theoretical knowledge with the added benefit that during the course a student can monitor their progress rather than the guessing game of terminal exams.

Despite the myths that you will often hear/read on MN - no university (even Oxbridge) will turn down a student as they have done a BTEC. In fact a lot of universities welcome BTEC students as they have the experience of having to complete independently large coursework elements and the 'soft skills' that are developed in completing a BTEC.

Before I get jumped on by posters - I've had previous students that have been offered places at Oxbridge with a L2 BTEC, students with L3 BTECs at RG unis and succeeding

TeenTimesTwo Tue 22-Jan-19 18:39:05

cricket Can you clarify re equivalence of L1/2 BTECs, just for my information?

So A L2 BTEC Pass = what a 4 at GCSE?
How high can a Level 1 BTEC go? I thought L1 was below GCSE, is it just now grades GCSE1-3 equivalent, or what?

What is the sort of % split these days between exams and coursework? And also these days what resubmission if any is allowed?

(I tried really hard not to give misinformation in what I wrote, but I know things have moved on since DD1's BTEC).

clary Tue 22-Jan-19 19:06:59

Ds2 wants maybe to do PE at uni and at least one course we looked at specifically said PE BTEC is not accepted.

I don't dispute that plenty of unis do accept them. But it's worth checking. It's frustrating actually as a lot of schools locally offer PE BTEC not a level in 6th form.

cricketballs3 Wed 23-Jan-19 06:11:04


L1 goes as high as a 3 - GCSEs were always L1 and 2 (L1 qualification if you gained upto a D, it went up to a C).

As with GCSE all students are taught the same material and it is the end result which determines whether they achieve L1 or L2.

All vocational qualifications now have to have a minimum 40% external assessment.

@clary - would you clarify which uni as none of the universities our 6th formers have looked at have stated that, there are some that want an A Level as well as the BTEC

clary Wed 23-Jan-19 15:31:16

Haha of course I can't find it now ona, quick search. It was Loughborough. But also on an open day at Warwick another student talking to the admissions tutor for a subject dd is interested in was told I no uncertain terms that she needed a levels, why fad she done BTEC and that wouldn't get her a place. Just saying it's worth checking, honestly I am not dissing BTECs!

clary Wed 23-Jan-19 15:32:05

Sorry for typos hope my meaning is clear 😁

clary Wed 23-Jan-19 15:43:16

Actually I've looked again and I think what I saw says you can't have PE BTEC and PE a level which is fair enough. Lots of courses want a levels alongside BTEC tho. And the Warwick thing still stands, I've checked the website. Sorry op this is a bit if a tangent!

MaisyPops Thu 24-Jan-19 17:02:06

At level 2 universities are unlikely to have a preference.
At level 3, many universities can and do stipulate A Levels, not tarrif points and some specific which A Levels they expect to see.

At level 2, in my experience, it doesn't matter too much so if there was a BTEC that interested a student then I'd be saying go for it. If it's a toss up between, for example, GCSE PE or BTEC PE then I might encourage a high performing student towards the GCSE as there's a bit more technical and biological content which is better prep for a level.

ChoudeBruxelles Thu 24-Jan-19 17:07:40

A btec level 2 is the same level as gcse. It’s not worse or better, just different. Ds is picking his options and I’ve actively encouraged him to choose btec sport rather than gcse pe as it’ll be one less exam at the end of the two years.

Btecs tend to be more vocationally focussed.

There’s a great deal of snobbery about BTECS. People think they are worth less. However if you want to be a graphic designer, chef, Carpenter, motor mechanic, etc they are just as valuable.

Murdoch1949 Sat 18-Jan-20 02:58:46

Whether a BTEC is appropriate for your child, depends on your child, and their proposed career path. If your child is uncertain about potential college or university courses, then GCSEs can help to keep options more open. If your child has decided Business, Nursing, Sports Leadership, Engineering etc, then BTECs can give them a firm grounding in a subject area in which they have an interest. The fact that they have expressed a genuine interest in a vocational area can actually encourage them to achieve high grades on their course, and have a knock on benefit to their GCSE courses. Some universities remain aloof from BTECs, but they are the minority. The mode of learning on a BTEC is more akin to the methods used at uni, where students have to present papers in tutorials, give presentations etc, and of course the coursework elements are present on uni and BTEC courses, but not GCSEs. The important consideration to make is can my child progress from their KS4 courses to employment, college or university?

Comefromaway Mon 20-Jan-20 10:37:12

Some colleges won't accept btec's for A level entry. My ds is doing one L2 btec in Dance alongside 8 GCSE's. He is, however doing Music GCSE rather than Btec which does seem to have a higher theory content.

He's going to be doing a Level 3 Btec at college and we have started looking at uni requirements. A handful will not accept L3 Btec as an entry qualification. Some will accept it alongside A level music (not possible at the college he is going to its either or) and some will accept it if its accompanied by ABRSM Grade 5 (or higher in some cases) theory. So we have gone for the latter option and he took his theory exam last term to maximise his options. (he was never going to be Oxbridge/Durham etc anyway.)

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