Enhancing career opportunities with BTEC Higher Nationals in Policing
On 14 June 2017 the College of Policing announced a new bursary scheme for 2017/18 providing officers and staff in police forces in England and Wales with the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £3,000 per year (for up to two years) towards tuition fees to complete higher education studies.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has worked in partnership with Pearson’s Bespoke and Customised Higher National development team to develop a new BTEC Higher National Certificate and Diploma in Policing, currently available to all approved centres in England for first teaching from September 2017.
Both colleges currently run the Level 3 Preparation for the Police Course which is a one year full time course for those thinking of joining the police force. Over the past 3 years the regional police force has actively recruited Special Constables from their student base and a number have subsequently progressed to become regular Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers and Special Constables.
Recognising the need for a new qualification
Currently there is no service-wide minimum qualification for new police officers, but a new recruitment proposal was outlined by the National College of Policing in December 2016 whereby all new recruits to the police force will require degree level qualifications by 2020.
The new BTEC Higher Nationals in Policing provide a practical higher education qualification that should widen participation for those who would not previously progress to University, and should enhance career opportunities for those living in the local and wider communities of the College.
An example being that during the term of study students will become a Special Constable, and ultimately be recruited as a regular Police Officer. It will also enable qualification holders to progress to a top up BA Honours degree in Policing validated by a partner Higher Education Institution.
A practical approach to teaching and learning
The course will be delivered over 2 years and will have a keen focus on the development of experience and skills, reflective practice and action research. Staff who deliver this qualification are former Police Officers and Police Trainers, and have undertaken formal Teacher Training qualifications. There is a keen focus on delivery by current practitioners and experts and so guest lecturers will form a key part of the delivery plan.
The teaching and learning methodologies adopted by the colleges are varied and respond to the needs of individuals, groups and qualification criteria. The qualification will incorporate a minimum number of contact hours to support knowledge development and enhance the student experience. It also includes a work-based/work experience element that will be managed collaboratively with local Police Forces.
To underpin this, the college has a dedicated work based assessor, who will form the key link between classroom and experiential learning and complete tasks such as project inspection, employer liaison and placement, in addition to assessment activity relating to work based experience evidence.
Working with Pearson to develop the qualification
"We discovered the Commissioned HN service whilst searching for a suitable Higher National programme that we could offer our students on Pearson’s website. As a college we have been helping our students gain the skills and qualities needed for a career in the Police Service for some time.
Developing this qualification with Pearson was the next logical step to build on this progress. The new Higher National Diploma will be the first of its kind in England and will provide a clear alternative to higher education for those looking for opportunities in this valuable profession."
The qualification development took six months. The Pearson Bespoke and Customised Higher National development team worked closely with the expert specialist writers to ensure that the qualification meets national and higher education standards whilst giving an opportunity for applied learning in realistic contexts.
The college staff found the development process to be professional and helpful, and working on the qualification to be an extremely positive experience. The training on how to write the units was pitched at the right level, and when they asked for support, the Bespoke and Customised HN team gave it, so much so that the development got ahead of schedule.
University reviewer’s comments have been enthusiastic and include -
- ‘Emergency Planning is a great module, well written and at an appropriate level. I am sure this will be of interest to learners’.
- ‘Managing Police Finances - this module will be straightforward to teach with a little background research.’
The staff have found it to be a good personal learning process, and the reviewer’s comments on the two modules supports the fact that as a team, we have achieved the goal of producing a very practically based course.
The HNC and HND in Policing appear on the College of Policing Directory of qualifications and will be promoted to police personnel, supporting growth for these qualifications in UK centres. We are the first Awarding Organisation to work directly with the College of Policing.
Developing a bespoke qualification
Our Commissioned BTEC Higher National Qualification Service aims to address the skills gaps within specific sectors or needs in local or national vocational qualification. If you have an idea for a new qualification contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.