New BTEC Level 3 National (AAQ) qualifications, for first teaching from September 2025.

BTEC Level 3 Nationals 2025 (AAQ) qualifications provide students with meaningful and practical learning experiences across a range of career sectors. They equip students with the applied knowledge, skills and personal attributes they need to enter and thrive in higher education and meet the demands of future employment in our fast-changing world.

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All eight new Level 3 Alternative Academic Qualifications BTEC Nationals submitted in Cycle 1 have been approved for funding for first teach from September 2025.

The new BTEC National qualifications are:

  • Engaging and future-focused - providing opportunities for students to learn in real, relatable and practical ways and designed to ensure that they develop critical knowledge and transferable skills to navigate the future.

Read more on how we are 'Preparing learners for their future'

  • Accessible and fair for students, balanced with the demands of progression to the next stage of learning - the use of the N Grade and our holistic approach to designing assessment criteria means that qualifications are attainable for students whilst ensuring that they have a solid foundation of skills and knowledge, and the confidence to progress.
  • Accepted and supported by universities - developed in collaboration with educators and universities to ensure students have the right combination of skills and knowledge for success in higher education. Over 100 letters of support from universities.
  • Well supported and straightforward to deliver and administer - simple structure making unit combination more straightforward; uniformed format of external assessment across subjects to streamline administration; Pearson-Set Assignment Briefs (PSABs) removing the need for centres to plan their own assignments, and wide range of training and support (see below).

In addition, these new qualifications retain the core features that have made BTEC Nationals the vocational qualifications of choice for over 40 years: modular approach with a combination of examination and assignments; Pass, Merit and Distinction grading scale enabling students to receive appropriate recognition for their achievement and a supportive and transparent standards verification model.

The new qualifications were submitted as Alternative Academic Qualifications (AAQ) to the Department for Education and the 8 qualifications submitted in Cycle 1 have been approved for funding and will be available for first teaching from September 2025.

Download your guide to BTEC Nationals 2025

Who are these qualifications for?

BTEC Level 3 Nationals (AAQs) are for post-16 students aiming to progress to higher education as a route to graduate level employment. With their applied and practical focus, they perfectly complement A Levels as a part of a mixed programme of learning, helping to bring more theoretical learning to life. Depending on size, students can take these qualifications alongside one or two A Levels, or alternatively as the substantial qualification in their study programme, where permitted. The specifications and Statements of Purpose will clearly detail potential combinations for study programmes for each qualification.

When will the new qualifications be available?

The new BTEC Level 3 National qualifications are being developed in two cycles in line with the phasing of the reform.

Qualifications in Cycle 1 are approved for funding for first teaching from September 2025 and are shown below – click the images to view specifications, sample assessment materials and transition guides.

Qualifications in Cycle 2 will be available for first teaching from September 2026. We will be developing the following qualifications in the following sectors for submission in Cycle 2:

Small AAQs

  • Art and Design Practice
  • Creative Media Production
  • Financial Studies
  • Games Design and Development
  • Marketing
  • Music Performance
  • Music Production
  • Performing Arts
  • Sport
  • Sport and Exercise Science
  • Sustainability
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Uniformed Protective Services

Large AAQs

  • Art, Design and Creative Practice
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Production Arts
  • Sport
  • Sport and Exercise Science

Guidance and support for every step of your BTEC delivery journey

Guidance and support has always been a big part of our BTEC offer and so we will be providing guidance and support for each role within your team and for every stage of the delivery journey.

Advice and Guidance

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BTEC Nationals (AAQs) and Edexcel A levels - the complete solution for your 16-19 mixed study programmes

The new AAQs are designed to be taken as part of a programme of study that includes A levels.

Pearson Edexcel A levels are available in a wide range of subjects and give learners the change to develop and focus their knowledge as they explore subjects in greater depth.

Explore the Programmes of Study

Register your interest in BTEC Nationals from 2025