What is a BTEC?

BTEC’s are work related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students, built to accommodate the needs to employers and allow progression to university. They provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a key theoretical background. They can be taken as well as, or in place of, GCSE’s and A Levels in schools and colleges. Here at William Bradford we have introduced and developed a range of BTEC courses which are available in Years 10 to 13.

How BTEC’s are assessed?

BTEC’s are not exam-based qualifications. Students study real-life, work-based case studies and complete projects and assessments, which contribute to achieving unit studied. Each BTEC is made up of units. The number of units is dependent on the level of BTEC being studied.

The assessment process is ongoing, allowing students to analyse and improve their performance through their course in much the same way as they would in a real workplace. The projects that students undertake form the basis of their unit results which are graded as a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

BTEC Firsts

These are Level 2 qualifications which are the equivalent of traditional GCSE’s grades A*-C. The BTEC First is suitable for students aged pre-16 and is designed for those who are capable of achieving A*-C grade GCSE’s, but wish to focus on a work related vocational qualification or work area. Students’ achieving a Pass have a GCSE grade equivalent to a C, a Merit is equivalent to a B and a Distinction is an A. The BTEC First Certificate is equivalent to 1 GCSE, the BTEC First Extended Certificate is equivalent to 2 GCSE’s and the BTEC First Diploma is equivalent to 4 GCSE’s.

BTEC Nationals

These are designed as specialist qualifications for students who have a clear view of their future career or are seeking progression to higher education. BTEC Nationals are equivalent to A Levels and are highly valued by universities, further education colleges and employers alike. These qualifications are suitable for students aged 16 plus and are recommended for those who have achieved at least four A*-C grade GCSE’s or have completed a BTEC First and have a clear view of where they want to be, or wish to go to university. Students achieving a Pass have an A Level equivalent to an E, a Merit is equivalent to a C and a Distinction is an A. The BTEC National Certificate is equivalent to half an A Level, the BTEC National Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to 1 full A Level, the BTEC National Diploma is equivalent to 2 A Levels and the BTEC National Extended Diploma is equivalent to 3 full A Levels.


BTEC’s allow students to progress to higher education, to progress further in their own career and to start their career in a certain industry or sometimes to have the skills to start their own business.

For further information about BTEC’s at William Bradford, please browse the Curriculum Section of the website or get in contact with the Head of BTEC at the college, Mr Gerard Mallaghan..