Did you know that hundreds, if not thousands, of Level 3 BTEC students did not get their results last Thursday, at the same time as the A-Level students? No? Of course not. Why would you?

First published in August 2020.

It’s not like anyone was talking about it, or even cared. Because once again, it was all about the A Level students. Every year, it is the same.

Well, did you know that one in five university students gained their place from having done a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) qualifications, including at Russell Group/“Red Brick” universities? No? I read law at a Russell Group university, and I did a BTEC.

Students and parents spent last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday trying to get answers, and trying to get the delay to their results on the news; on the radio; in the newspapers. Callers did get through on James O’Brien’s LBC show. But mostly, there was nothing.

It was all about the A-Levels.

BTEC students didn’t even know whether they had been marked down or not. Or whether their place at university was going to be safe. Or their apprenticeship. And no one was giving timescales.

All about A-Levels and the Algorithm (a tricky third album).

It was finally picked up on after the government did a screeching U-turn on the algorithm for A-Levels. And then came Wednesday evening. The Level 1 and Level 2 BTEC students weren’t going to get their results the next day. At least they had the privilege of being told.

Level 3 didn’t.

And now, all the BTEC talk is about Level 1 and Level 2. Not about Level 3. The criticism of the government on it from the Opposition is only about Level 1 and Level 2. No mention at all of Level 3.

This snobbery and dismissal of BTEC has simply got to end. It isn’t a lesser qualification to A-Levels. It is just different. The standard of work isn’t lower. The continuous assessment and work experience requirements are hard work.

A-Levels are not the be all and end all of tertiary education and qualifications. We have to stop pushing our young people into A-Levels, like it is the only way. And we have to stop forgetting about them. They are more than worthy of the attention.🔷

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 22 August 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Shutterstock/I. Salci.)

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