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GCSE music vs BTEC music

Discussion in 'Music' started by ciaramcnamara1912, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. ciaramcnamara1912

    ciaramcnamara1912 New commenter

    Hi all,

    Looking for some sound, honest advice. Apologies for the long post (disclaimer- 1st time poster).

    I have been a qualified RS and Music teacher for 7 years and love teaching, but I'm new to teaching music as of September 2019. As much as I am enjoying it in some regards, I am really struggling too. My school runs BTEC courses for creative arts- having never taught BTEC, let alone Muisc BTEC, I was thrown in at the deep end. So far, I have felt like I am teahcing business studies or logistics with a few musical elements thrown in. I want to know if BTEC really is the better route musically speaking and qualification wise? I have spoken to other music teachers from my previous schools and they have said they would always choose GCSE over BTEC- would ye agree? I myself, went to school in Ireland where BTEC is not a thing, so, did what I assume was more akin to GCSE. My university course was more akin to this also- music history, analysis, performance, composition etc. So, my question is, which is the best route to go and why?

    On another note, I'm not really enjoyign KS4 for the reasons above and I am also the only music teacher which is really difficult as I have noone to guide me or bunce ideas off etc (didn't know this until after my interview). I am also being asked to complete what I feel are head of department tasks which is not within my job remit and I am not getting any form of renumeration for this- time, money, ackowledgement. I know in theory, I should be saying no or questioning it, but, as I'm sure ye are all too aware, it's difficult to say no. I am considering looking for other jobs but wonder if it's worth speaking to my boss if they would change to GCSE should I want that or ask for more time (I already have and am waiting on a reply) and basically discuss my future. I don't feel like I am learning anything in terms of being a good music teacher or developing my practice and I couldn't tell you the last time I used a PPA for actual planning or assessment as I am always playing catch up with these "head of department" tasks.

    Any advice on either issues would nbe massively helpful and appreciated.
    Cheers :)
  2. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I haven't taught the most recent btec spec, but when I did teach btec I did find it included an awful lot of paperwork for both me and the students. They were students who would have really struggled to get a grade for the gcse listening exam, whereas they did get a btec pass. But it did take a lot of cajoling to get the written work out of them, and lots of it didn't feel very musical.

    Can you see why your school chose btec instead of gcse? (ask drama or your line manager in the first instance) Are the students happy doing the btec work? Are their performing/literacy skills suited to doing gcse? Are they likely to want to go on to do college at college? For school to entertain a course change, you would need to present a strong case that it's suited to students and they could achieve good grades.

    Can you create links with music teachers doing gcse or btec in local schools? Maybe ask your school for suggestions. Some subject specific advice and support could be useful.

    Re responsibilities, in one person depts, technically you can not be given a tlr because you don't have responsibility beyond your own classes. However, you could argue that you are doing plenty of jobs a classroom teacher wouldn't usually be doing, that do impact on your subject beyond your teaching . Again, I'd make a list of these and begin by talking to your line manager. Good luck.
  3. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Ps. You said you don't feel you're learning anything about teaching and improving your practice.
    Plenty of people enjoy being a one person dept, but for myself, I'm eternally grateful that I've always had at least one other music colleague (or 3 in my first post) who had different strengths from me and I could bounce ideas with. I definitely massively benefitted from that, and still do even as an experienced teacher. If you don't like being on your own, there's nothing stopping you from looking for other jobs with bigger depts where you can be part of a larger team.

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