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A Question about the Pearson BTEC

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Ed Goodwin, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Ed Goodwin

    Ed Goodwin New commenter

    Do any schools on the International circuit teach the BTEC?
  2. Ed Goodwin

    Ed Goodwin New commenter

    Excellent, I will take this collective silence as a no then. I keep getting bombarded with bumph from these people who tell me that "everyone is doing it"! Obviously not...
  3. bchuckle

    bchuckle New commenter

    Pearson has an aggressive expansion policy and has started to make inroads into the USA, the Caribbean and Europe. They are starting to expand to the Middle East and Asia too. Numbers of schools outside the UK that use these qualifications is now well into four figures.

    Some schools do and some don't. There tends to be a snobbishness about BTECs in some quarters. Personally, I think they're an excellent alternative that allows you to provide a comprehensive education
  4. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    Certainly schools doing IB are unlikely to offer them. I think the BTECs are great and I've met a lot of kids who would benefit from that kind of course.
  5. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Yes and no Ed. The failure of BTEC to take off in the UK has far more to do with politics than it does with Education.

    Once the Thatcher government and successive governments had decided that the best way to keep the youth unemployment figures down was to make full time education virtually compulsory it was obviously necessary to create something for those students who were not suited to the traditional three A levels route.

    The idea of BTEC was that it would be a different route to the expanded higher education sector (i.e. the upgraded polytechnics). However, it fell foul of the educational ‘establishment’, who didn’t like the idea that it was largely coursework assessed (despite the fact that all the research suggests that students learn better through coursework, which tests skills, rather than lots of exams which only test memory). But who harked back to the so called ‘golden age’, which of course never really existed, and the so called ‘gold standard’ of three A levels.

    Many schools took BTEC on board with a large degree of success. Unfortunately as successive governments continued to use education as a political football and to make the kind of wholesale changes that have similarly plagued the national health service, BTEC almost disappeared in a flurry of new initiatives that were badly thought out, badly planned and of course like most government ‘reforms’ (one of the most misused term in recent times!) badly funded and badly implemented. These have included AS/A2, Academies, Charter schools, faith schools, testing at virtually every turn, in school teacher training, league tables, and laughably the British Baccalaureate which was/is a complete dogs breakfast.

    Perhaps the greatest compliment to BTEC is that the IBO is now copying it through its Career Related Programme, the CP. As the IB Diploma has become taken up by almost every new ‘international school’, as well 75% of schools in the US, Australia and the Middle East and is growing fast in China, many of these schools have realized that it is not necessarily the best option for many of their students, particularly those for whom English is not their first language, and for those for whom academic study is not their best option.

    All we can do is live in hope that our political masters will one day learn to leave education to the educational professionals - fat chance!
  6. TonyGT

    TonyGT Established commenter

    I like the idea of the BTECs and taught them in the UK in the past. Unfortunately, towards the end of my stint there the teacher paperwork was becoming such a huge workload that they were getting less and less viable.

    The problem with BTECs on the international circuit is that they are viewed with disdain by universities and some employers who see them as a 'thick kids course'. Therefore this makes them untenable in most private schools. Why would a parent pay top dollar for their children to do a course which was going to be ignored after their high school education?
  7. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    You are absolutely right TonyGT, hence my comments about the 'educational establishment' and the lack of foresight, planning, and particularly commitment to their own reforms from successive governments.

    My wife ran a hugely successful BETC department in a school in the UK and her students would run rings around the so-called academic route kids in debates and presentations. It was far from being a 'thick kids course'.

    And even though it is great to see the IBO going down the career related path I think they will find the same attitude as you mention from the 'international education establishment'.

    At my current school we have parents demanding that their sons and daughters do the full IB Diploma (possibly the hardest university entrance programme in the world!) in English, when they have only one or two years of EAL behind them or they are simply not that academically inclined. They then fail the IB Diploma or scrape through after two years of blood, sweat and tears!

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