More than 200 BTECs being scrapped

student being taught at a sewing machine

With so many different courses available, choosing the right one “can feel like a needle in a haystack”

More than 200 BTECs are among the 5000 post-16 qualifications that the government is planning to drop by 2021.

These courses are all ones that have either attracted no students at all or extremely low numbers, and are mainly focused on very specific jobs or businesses. Barista Skills, Sailing and Watersports and Apparel, Footwear or Leather Production are among the BTEC qualifications on the list.

These cuts are part of the Department for Education’s plans to streamline the choices available to students once they’ve done their GCSEs.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Trying to decide what course will put you on the path to a great career is hard enough, but with over 12000 qualifications available and many in the same subject – it can feel like a needle in a haystack.”

Scrapping these unpopular courses will, he says, “help make sure students have a clearer choice of the qualifications on offer, and ensure they get the skills they need to progress”.

Colleges and sixth forms that run the courses will have the chance to let the Department for Education know if they think any of them should keep their funding.

T-levels “new gold standard technical course”

The government is also bringing in the new T-level qualifications, which it describes as “the gold standard technical course of choice for young people from 2020”.

T-levels will be piloted from September 2020, and to begin with there will only be a small pool of students taking part – around 2000 – with the scheme being gradually rolled out over time.

One T-level will be equivalent to three A-levels, and will take two years to complete. A T-level will involve a mixture of classroom learning and on-the-job experience through industry placements.

TSR member brainzistheword has put together a really helpful guide to T-levels here. We also have a forum dedicated to T-levels.

If you’re trying to figure out what you want to do after your GCSEs, take a look at our guide to all your main options to help decide what might suit you best.

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