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OCR Nationals vs. BTEC First in Applied Science?

Discussion in 'Science' started by Jo093534, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Has anyone any experience of the OCR Nationals or BTEC First in Applied Science courses? My school is currently looking for a suitable course to offer next year's lower sets in KS4 which will allow them to achieve better results than from taking core science. There are pros and cons of each course and we are hoping to observe some schools currently offering the courses. In the meantime any advice would be appreciated particularly from those who may have experience of teaching both courses and who could suggest what kind of students the courses suit considering the issues with behaviour and ability which often arise in lower sets.
    I look forward to hearing any comments anyone might have! Thanks in advance!
  2. We currently do BTEC Applied Science and are also running OCR Nationals from September. OCR Nationals seem to cater for the interest of a variety of students as different modules can be selected. BTEC is a quick fix, but there is talk that from 2011 it will not count towards the schools A*-C percentage. This is in light of the Science Diploma in which we are all supposed to be delivering by 2011.
  3. Thanks for the useful advice!
  4. Dear All,
    I am the subject adviser for science at Edexcel and am most interested in your comments about BTEC.
    With regard to development of new qualifications such as diplomas and any impact on Edexcel’s successful BTECs, JACQA have stated that, "Some existing qualifications are well known and valued by learners, teachers and employers. We are firmly committed to keeping the best of what currently exists."
    BTEC (and OCR National Science Level 2 qualifications) are both accredited until August 2010. Edexcel are in the process of redeveloping the BTEC Firsts and Nationals for first teaching from 2010. These qualifications are being submitted with the expectation that they continue to attract the same amount of SCAAT points as the existing qualifications do. We are confident that they will be available well beyond 2011.
    Please also note that we are increasing the amount of support available for schools teaching BTEC to help you use the inherent flexibility the qualification has due to the wide choice of units. If you want to give your view on what support you and other schools might need, please do contact me on Tel No. 0207 190 4050 or ScienceSubjectAdvisor@edexcelexperts.co.uk
  5. Hi edexcel1,
    I had also heard that the BTEC would not count when the diploma starts.....it was from an LA meeting and had come from 'on high' I have to say it is quite a common 'rumor' amongst the HOD i have spoken to recently and it had worried me as we offer the BTEC.
    When will the redeveloped BTEC courses be submitted and comfirmed? As i am currenlty researching a course to take the place of BTEC before it is too late
  6. Hi, I had also heard at an LEA meeting, hence the reason from September for introducing OCR Nationals.
  7. I've taught both. The nationals is a nightmare to mark due to the terrible grading criteria. The BTEC is better in my opinion as it is more straightforward and offers greater opportunity for practical work, pupils seem to find it more engaging.
  8. Hi bidd1980,
    Thank you for your information.
    Our intention is to continue so there will be no gaps. We are in the process of re-developing the BTEC for use from September 2010 and this is being submitted very shortly and confirmation should be swift.
    The SCAAT points will still be there for BTEC Firsts. Our plans include to offer a new BTEC Level 1 equal to ONE GCSE. The Level 3 BTEC has, as now, equivalent UCAS points.
  9. Hi purplebelle,
    Thank you for your question.
    Yes, Edexcel are planning for continuity to 2013 at which point there is a government review planned for all qualifications.
    The BTEC from 2010, that we are currently working on, has more option units, although you will be able to teach a very similar set of units if that is the best way to do things in your school.

  10. Dear nicki_p
    Thank you for your note. You have no need to worry about *A-C. Please see posting number 5 on ths discussion (posted 05/03/2009) regarding SCAAT points.
    Regarding starting BTEC, here is a link that may help:<font size="2"> <u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://www.edexcel.com/quals/firsts/science/Pages/default.aspx</font></u>
    </font>If it is the first BTEC qualification your school is offering, your school will need to apply for and be granted centre approval. This is an opportunity for you to get to grips with what is involved. Please note that you do not necessarily have to start BTEC in September. There are centres who begin teaching GCSE and then move pupils to BTEC if the outcome of the first modular exam shows that the pupil is not coping with exams as a method of assessment. So you may have more time than you imagine.
    If you don't get the information you require from the website, I suggest you contact me directly so that I can pass on queries to relevant people. (0207 190 4050)

  11. Hello all,

    I am a Head of Science and we currently run the BTEC for some of our pupils, but I am torn between writing a new scheme to suit our kids for the BTEC (which I feel would take forever!), or stop it and go for the OCR Nationals. My main reason for thinking this is because we can tailor the OCR Nationals a bit more to our kids as there are more option units and the 'Science' doesn't seem to be as in depth (sorry, I know I probably shouldn't say that, but some of our students can't cope with the difference between the properties of Ionic and Covalent bonds!). Our pupils are switching off
    Edexel1, you said that there are going to be more option units in the new BTEC starting in 2010. Is there anywhere we can get some more info on how the course is going to change to help me make my decision on whether to stick it out for another year?

    Plus, has anyone got any advice on which they feel is best and also how to make it relevant to the pupils? I've taught both BTEC and OCR, but I am really struggling to make the BTEC engaging for them because of the content.


  12. I run and teach on the BTEC First Diploma in Applied Science. The link you need is http//www.edexcel.com/quals/firsts/science/Pages/default.aspx
    The course is really good for differentiating between different abilities although I am in an FE college and we use it as a feeder for the National Diploma in Medical and FOrensic Science
    Edexcel report that they are developing the qualification in order to deliver it when the new diploma comes in
    There is a lot of work in setting up the course but it is worthwhile. If you decide that you want to go ahead let me know and I can give you some advice and talk about the different assignments
  13. The other thing to consider when looking at switching, particularly from standard GCSE to BTEC or OCR nationals is the secondary quality measure of 2 GCSEs A*-C in science. The headline % 5 A*-C GCSE is rapidly declining with only the 'gold standard' of 5 A*-C inc En & Ma being taken seriously. The secondary quality measure if the 2 A*-C in science and BTEC and OCR nationals do not count for this. The only things that do are GCSEs including applied science.
  14. We are at present considering offering offering Btec National in Medical Sciences from Sept and know very little about them! I would very much welcome your support and would appreciate your advice and guidance in delivering units 1 and 4. Have you got schemes of work or some standard assigments for starting point? Is there any standard textbooks or set of e-resources we can use. My email addressis nkotecha@hotmail.com.I would very much appreciate and value any help or support you can offer to get started because edexcel specs seem quite vague.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.

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