BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council. The BTEC Extended Diploma qualification represents a vocational alternative to A Levels or IB (whereas BTEC First courses are equivalent to GCSEs).
BTEC qualifications can be studied as double awards (equivalent to 2 A Levels) or triple awards (equivalent to 3 A Levels). Students may also choose to study for an A Level qualification to complement their BTEC studies and attract a higher UCAS point score.
In the UK, the BTEC suite of qualifications also extends to BTEC Apprenticeships, which offer a balance of ‘on and off the job’ training in a specific career. At present, such apprenticeships are not available in the UAE.
BTEC courses are best suited to those students who have a strong leaning to a particular career or sector. In addition, the courses may well suit those students who demonstrate their talents best through ongoing assessment rather than in high stakes examinations. BTEC courses typically consist of 18 modules, for which students submit coursework to demonstrate competency.
More than 95% of UK universities accept BTEC qualifications. Some high performing universities require students to have an A Level in addition to BTEC, and students who have particular interest in a specific institution are advised to check this with the university prior to commencing their Post 16 studies.
In the UK, BTECs are offered in a broad spectrum of diverse subjects areas such as Land Management, Media, Childcare and Construction. In the UAE, schools typically offer BTECs in one or more of; Art & Design, Business, Sport and Performing Arts.
BTECs final grades are split into three and may be awared in any combination of 'Starred Distinction, Distinction, Merit and Pass'. A top performing student would receive three Starred Distinction grades. Other students may receive award combinations such as Merit, Merit, Pass. Each grade attracts a different UCAS tariff and is described as being equivalent to a certain level of A Level grades. The table below demonstrates this:
|BTEC grade||UCAS tariff||UCAS equivalence to A-Level||Equivalence to A-Level|
|Distinction||48||A||Between B and C|
|Merit||32||C||Between C and D|
|Pass||16||E||Between D and E|
There are an increasing number of UAE school now offering BTEC qualifications alongside the more traditional academic routes. These schools include:
|Frensham Heights||Farnham||South East England|
|The Hammond School||Chester||North West England|
|Tring Park School for the Performing Arts||Tring||East of England|