Fyling Hall introduced the BTEC Nationals Level 3 Extended Certificate in IT into our Sixth Form in 2017 which is a course specifically created with employer involvement to make it useful in the world of work. It looks at all the IT skills needed to successfully run a business such as maintaining a customer database, updating financial accounts, running a website and creating social media marketing strategies to promote the business. Completing students so far have all achieved Distinction grades which is equivalent to an A grade at A level. The BTEC differs from A levels in that each unit is generally studied independently with an assessment at the end of it. These can be external exams or internally assessed coursework units.
Joshua says “I like the way the BTEC is organised because you study a whole unit like databases then take the exam at the end, in January. If you do well you don’t need to go back to it again and you move onto the next unit. This month I have been designing and implementing a social media marketing campaign for my parents’ business. I’ve been posting pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram and trying to get more followers and likes on the pages. It has been interesting and fun seeing how a business does this in the real world and you get a buzz when one of your posts gets loads of likes.” What a great example of this qualification being useful in the world of work!
With the pandemic, summer GCSE and A Level exams were cancelled but in January, schools were given the option of whether to run external BTEC exams or not depending on their own circumstances. We opted to continue with the exams and the students entered for year 12 and year 13 exams passed with distinctions. Unfortunately, some other students were still at their homes abroad so were unable to take their exam which has meant they have had to do some additional assessments in order to complete their qualification.
One of our new international students, Aurora, has joined the year 12 ICT class and she says:
“When I arrived at Fyling Hall School, I didn’t even know how to change the font size of a document (I wish I was kidding but I am not). I wanted to change that, so I chose ICT as one of my A-level subjects. But since I am returning to Germany soon, it would make sense for me to learn about topics that will be useful for me in both countries. I started off with learning about what makes a good Powerpoint presentation. At the moment I am dealing with graphs and spreadsheets and how they can simplify calculations and organisation. Developing these skills will make it easier for me to get good grades back home. It also helps me a lot in terms of computer use in general. For me, ICT is the perfect way to understand how a computer works and how I can use it for my purposes.”
Wendy Banks, Head of ICT