Transitioning to HTQs in Engineering

17 November 2023

The 2024 Higher Nationals in Engineering portfolio of RQF qualifications is expanding, with two main changes. Read our FAQs to find out more about what this means for your centre, as well as advice and guidance. Please note that these changes are only applicable to centres in England.

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If you have any questions, please sign in to the Pearson support portal to register your query.

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What do I need to do?

To register new students beyond 31 August 2024, you will need to apply for programme approval by completing our declaration form and sending it to us at hnqa@pearson.com. For many centres, we can carry out an auto-approval. However, some may require a desk-based review, as outlined in our guidance document

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What does this mean for registrations? 

Current registrations: Once the current Higher Nationals in Engineering suite expire on 31 August 2024, existing HNC/D students can continue to complete their studies on the current specification. 

New registrations: To register new students beyond 31 August 2024, you will need to apply for programme approval by completing our declaration form and sending it to us at hnqa@pearson.com. For many centres, we can carry out an auto-approval. However, some may require a desk-based review, as outlined in our guidance document. Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to process your application to register new students from September 2024. 

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What are the new qualifications?

1. Higher Technical Qualifications: The first change involves enabling centres in England to deliver a new suite of Pearson Higher Nationals in Engineering namely, Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) that are aligned with a set of key occupational standards, bearing the ‘quality mark’ of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). The renewed focus on career pathways within industry has enabled Pearson to successfully obtain approval from the IfATE for the 2024 suite of BTEC Higher Nationals in Engineering consisting of 22 individual qualification titles marked ‘for England’ with distinct specifications that link more directly to sector specific career pathways. 

Impact of change: For the centres in England, the new Engineering-related Higher National HTQs are due for first teach in September 2024 and will be replacing: Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Aeronautical Engineering (2017), and  Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Engineering (2018). Centres will be supported with the teach-out of the above qualifications to enable students complete their studies on current specification. 

2. Standard Higher Nationals: The second change involves revalidation and publication of (i) Higher Nationals in Aeronautical Engineering, and (ii) Higher Nationals in Engineering (with all current pathways). Subject to approvals, we expect that centres will continue to benefit from utilising similar qualification structures in selecting unit combinations. The change is expected to add more flexible choice, with several of the units revised to meet learners needs, occupational standards requirements and future sector needs and demands.

Impact of change: For the centres in the UK or overseas, the revalidated Higher Nationals are due for first teach in September 2024 and will be replacing: Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Aeronautical Engineering (2017), and Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Engineering (2018). We aim to publish further guidance for HN Engineering Suite in due course. 

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Are there any differences between Higher Nationals and Pearson’s HTQs?

There are no major differences between the Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ) “For England” and Standard Higher Nationals versions of the specifications with regards to delivering the qualification or learning outcomes.  In anticipation of potential funding stream changes for centres in England, Pearson will (subject to quality assurance considerations) approve centres in England for the “For England” version, where that option is available. 

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What does this mean for my centre?

If you are currently offering any of the above-mentioned BTEC Higher Nationals, these qualifications will expire on 31 August 2024, to be replaced by a new suite of BTEC Higher Nationals in Engineering qualifications. 

Please note: The structure of the re-approval fee has been amended to reflect the change in the qualification model, centres will be able to select up to three of the standalone titles for a single renewal fee charge. 

Please also note: Standard HN titles with no HTQ alternatives are open to centres located in England. For example, pathways such as Higher National Certificate in Engineering (Semiconductor Technologies) and Higher National Diploma in Engineering (Embedded Electronic Systems).  

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What about recognition of prior learning (RPL)?

Students can also be transferred to the new specification from 1 September 2024. However, this will require processing students using the following Recognition of Prior Learning policy together with the HN RPL mapping document.  RPL documents can be found on HN Global. Please note we are currently reviewing the documents. 

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