Skip to main content

One million students sit BTEC Nationals each year, over 250,000 go on to HE.


BTEC Nationals, work-ready, onsite learning, assessment-as-you-learn, options, desirable practical, skills



BTEC Nationals, otherwise known as The Business and Technology Education Council qualification, are overseen by Pearson.  For students who want to hone practical skills and the associated theory simultaneously while being tested, largely, by continuous assessment, they are an ideal choice.

BTEC Nationals are qualifications recognised, since 1984, throughout the UK and can follow on from either BTEC Firsts or GCSEs.  A levels and BTEC Nationals are both Level 3 qualifications.  

A BTEC comprises of a set number of units. An 18 unit BTEC equates to 3 A levels, and generally, many universities will accept it.  Students applying to university who have a 12 unit BTEC may well be expected to have an AS or an A level also. 

All BTEC Nationals are work-related, and students will learn valuable workplace and practical skills alongside academic theory making students very desirable to employers.  


Dragon's Den entrepreneur Peter Jones is an avid supporter of BTECs. Click here to hear him explain why.  


Each course chooses the assessment that is most appropriate for that particular course.  

There are a number of assessment methods:

  • Continuous (also called ongoing) assessment which is marked by the teachers at the student's school.
  • A practical test. 
  • Finally, an exam. This exam can either be an online multiple choice exam or a traditional, written paper.

Whichever assessment method the course uses students are given many opportunities to prepare and present themselves and their work in the best possible light.  

95% of the UK's universities accept BTEC Nationals as qualifications for over 70% of their degree courses.

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles

  • University Technical College (UTC)

    University Technical Colleges, specialist Academies and City Technical Schools all offer an alternative to mainstream schools for children. These local colleges may suit students looking for a curriculum that combines traditional academics with practical skills.  window.__lc = window.__lc || {}; window.__lc.license = 9097600; (function() { var lc = document.createElement('script'); lc.type = 'text/javascript'; lc.async = true; lc.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://' : 'http://') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(lc, s); })();

  • A Levels, IB

    Considering what A Levels to take when you are just 15 years old can be hard, very hard. These choices can be made harder as it is important to make sure that your choices ensure your future options remain as flexible as possible. 

  • HNCs & HNDs

    Many people will know BTEC Highers by the acronym HNC, Higher National Certificate and HND, Higher National Diploma.

  • Art Foundation Diploma Course

    This is a BTEC vocational course that has three outcomes. It is a stand-alone qualification. Or it could suit school leavers who wish to test the water and see if they might like to continue on to study Art at university. Alternatively, this course is for those who are certain that they want to complete a BA in Fine Art. An Art Foundation course is generally preferred as the first step. 

  • Technical Baccalaureate (TechBac)

    Newly introduced in 2014, the TechBac are practical, vocational, courses run by the City and Guilds aimed at 16-19-year-olds wanting technical qualifications and what are known as soft skills.

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews, data and catchment:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
 Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
 Which schools pupils come from and go onto
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
 Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

Whose results are the anyway?


For a limited time get one month's Good Schools Guide subscription free with any purchase of The Good Schools Guide to Boarding Schools.