June 2012 next generation BTEC Firsts accreditation update

Thu May 31 23:00:00 UTC 2012

The specifications for the following BTEC First Awards have been amended and reaccredited in order to meet DfE headline measures criteria.  

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BTEC First Awards from 2012 – Accredited specifications

  • Art and Design
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Health and Social Care
  • Information and Creative Technology
  • Sport.

We wrote to you in March to let you know that the Award sizes of the above BTEC Firsts from 2012 had all been accredited. Due to a technicality, however, they weren’t included on the Department for Education’s list of vocational qualifications that will count towards headline measures from 2014. In response, we submitted amendments to the specifications, which have now been reaccredited by Ofqual.

The changes, which involve the removal of the generic units, ensure that the Award size qualifications are fully contextualised and demonstrate clear progression routes within the individual sectors, regardless of which optional units are chosen. This maintains the integrity of the qualifications, as well as fully meeting the DfE headline measures criteria.

The DfE is currently considering all qualifications for inclusion in the headline measures list from 2015, including the above Awards. We will, of course, contact you as soon as we receive any information about this list.

Next steps

Even though they are not on the 2014 headline measures list, you can begin teaching these NQF BTEC First Awards with level 2 learners from September 2012. Alternatively, the 'year of grace' means that you can continue to offer the existing QCF BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate and Diploma qualifications which have been confirmed as being recognised in 2014 headline measures.

We know that many centres register learners on BTEC Firsts when they are in Year 9. We're confident that the new BTEC Firsts will be included on the 2015 list, so you may wish to register Year 9s on the NQF qualifications. If you have previously offered the QCF version of the BTEC, you will be automatically approved to offer the NQF version in that sector.

External Assessment Window

We're now in a position to confirm the first external assessment windows for this first phase of next generation BTEC Awards. You may notice some changes from our initial proposal earlier in the year. They have been reviewed following the clarification of the ‘year of grace’ and the delay in gaining recognition for some of the qualifications on the headline measures list. This is to ensure that these first assessments are based on sufficient evidence and that we can follow a robust assessment process to uphold standards.

BTEC First Awards in Application of Science, Principles of Applied Science and Performing Arts

To confirm, in March 2012 these qualifications were accredited and included on the DfE’s list of vocational qualifications which count towards headline measures in 2014. No changes have been made to these specifications.

BTEC First Certificate / Extended Certificate

Development on the first eight sectors of the 240 GLH First Certificate and the 360 GLH First Extended Certificate (Applied Science, Art and Design, Business, Engineering, Health and Social Care, I&CT, Performing Arts and Sport) is nearing completion, and we expect to submit to Ofqual for accreditation very shortly. 

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