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What is a BTEC?

BTECs are offered by an increasing number of schools and colleges as an alternative sixth-form curriculum. BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) awards are work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students. They are designed to accommodate the needs of employers and allow progression to university. 

A generation ago, BTECs were considered inferior to A-Levels, a negative legacy which still affects the mindset of today's parent. The fact is that the vast majority of British universities accept BTECs onto the majority of related courses. BTECs are now held in high esteem by British universities, and many overseas. 

BTECs are ideal for students who learn better "by doing" as opposed to memorising and regurgitating academic theories and principles. Students with SEN often find that they prefer the approach and cumulative assessment methods of BTECs, as these allow them to keep track of their grade as they progress through each unit of study. 

BTEC awards provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory and they can be taken alongside, or in place of, GCSEs and A levels.

BTEC awards have been around for nearly 30 years and are available across a wide range of industry sectors. They are recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the UK and in over 100 countries worldwide.

They come in different levels, from Entry Level (Foundation Learning) right through to professional qualifications at Level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study). Independent schools and colleges mainly offer qualifications at Level 3, which is the equivalent to an A-Level in UCAS terms. BTECs also come in different "sizes" at each level. The smallest size is an Award, the next size is a Certificate and the largest is a Diploma.



A-level size equivalence

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma


3 x A levels

BTEC Level 3 Diploma


2 x A levels

BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma


1.5 x A levels

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate


1 x A level

BTEC Level 3 Certificate


0.5 x A level

Continually developed and updated with key industry representatives and sector skills councils to meet the needs of employers and learners, their reputation is second to none.

There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications available in state schools but in private schools they are currently offered in these areas of study:

  • Applied Science
  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Media
  • Music
  • Health & Social Care
  • Hospitality
  • ICT
  • Land-Based
  • Performing Arts
  • Sport
  • Travel & Tourism

Education Advisers is keen to see the expansion of BTECs in private schools but currently there are only about 30 schools which have introduced them. Furthermore some schools have no more than two or three BTEC choices.

We will do our best to find the subject or combination you need. Please submit an enquiry form or contact us to discuss further

+44 1622 813870

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