The principal of an independent day and boarding college has said BTECs “do not get the credit and recognition they deserve”.
After imposing a third national lockdown in England, the Government cancelled GCSE and A-level exams but said vocational and technical exams taking place in January could continue if schools and colleges judged it “right to do so”.
Irfan Latif, principal at DLD College London, said the college decided to proceed with BTEC exams this month.
“Our students have been preparing for these exams, including over the entire Christmas holiday, with online support from their teachers. We did not want to deny the students this vital opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding – they have worked so hard for them,” he said.
“The exams are being conducted safely in a Covid-19 secure environment, and I know the students will value this unique learning opportunity of sitting these exams.”
We did not want to deny the students this vital opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding – they have worked so hard for them – Irfan Latif, DLD College London
Some schools and colleges have decided to cancel the January exams. Pearson, the awarding body that runs BTECS, said those unable to take their assessment this month may be able to take it at a later date, or will be awarded a grade in another way.
The i reported that some BTEC students made to sit exams during the lockdown felt “pushed to the side” after other exams were cancelled.
Latif said: “BTECs do not get the credit and recognition they deserve. They are taken by about a million young people each year. They are tough qualifications with a thorough moderation process and significant theoretical components – the project base element prepares students well for higher education and the world of work.
“The BTEC allows students to pursue demanding degree courses at some of the top universities in the country.”
Teacher assessed grades will replace GCSE and A-level exams in England, although the details have not been laid out yet.
“We fully appreciate how difficult decisions are right now in respect of exams and finding good solutions is not easy. What I think we all need is the maximum amount of clarity and fairness as can be provided,” said Latif.