The last of Edexcel’s three regional conferences looking at the future of the vocational landscape will be held on Tuesday 7 November in Birmingham. The conference features keynote presentations from Dr Ken Boston, Chief Executive, QCA, and Isabel Sutcliffe, Edexcel’s new Director of Qualifications and Standards.
The conference aims to contextualise and clarify the wealth of information and policies surrounding vocational education and training.
Dr Ken Boston, Chief Executive, QCA
Ken Boston said:
"The distinction between general and vocational education is, in my view, not useful and cannot be sustained. Every one of us in this room has a critical role to play in building human capital, the intellectual capacity and technical skill of the individual and indeed the nation."
"This conference is therefore very timely and I congratulate Edexcel on its initiative in bringing it together."
Every year, almost half a million learners study for BTEC qualifications. They are the fastest growing qualification in schools, and crucially, they have a high acceptance by employers – many major industries in the UK cite BTECs as an embedded requirement. In 2005 alone 260,000 students studied BTECs at college; 63,000 studied BTECs in schools; 23,000 studied BTECs at University; and 14,000 employees studied a BTEC whilst at work.
BTECs range from entry level to graduate level qualifications. They are developed in consultation with industry and professionals, ensuring that they are relevant, progressive and recognised by professional bodies, employers and universities.
Maggie Scott, Director of Learning and Quality at the Association of Colleges, said:
“BTECs have got a special place in the curriculum. Not only do BTEC Nationals have a good reputation in terms of doing the job, but they also have a sense of affection - they have proved their worth and they are enjoyed by young people.”
How will BTECs fit in to the framework of the new specialised Diplomas? Edexcel has published a policy document on this. There is more information on specialised Diplomas and Edexcel’s involvement in taking these forward, on our new Specialised Diplomas website.
Hodge Hill School in Birmingham has, in just four years, quadrupled the achievement of its students – from 15% pass rates at A* - C to 64% in 2006. Head Teacher, Marie McMahon, credits the introduction of a revolutionary new curriculum, where students study BTECs alongside their GCSEs. She says:
“It was important for me not to go for a one size fits all approach in terms of key stage 4 - variety, breadth and balance were essential. We began to build up an increasing level of BTEC qualifications and last year, all year eleven students chose from one of eight vocational subjects and two of seventeen traditional GCSEs.
Ms McMahon adds:
“One of the things I really like about the vocational programme we do here, is that it enables students to begin preparing for the world of work. Our curriculum gives our students the opportunity to give it their best shot in a variety of learning styles.”