Media claims that there is a “GCSE” or a BTEC in claiming benefits are a “gross exaggeration”, FullFact
Even the Prime Minister has claimed that there was a GCSE equivalent course in personal effectiveness which included how to complete a benefits form.
FullFact investigated the latest outing of the claim in the Spectator on 21 September:
"Better to let them [working class children] drop the foreign language requirement and do a BTEC in how to claim the dole instead. (I’m not making that last qualification up, by the way.) That’s not “elitist”. Oh no. That’s “inclusive”."
FullFact found that the course in question, which had been cleared by Ofqual following earlier media complaints, was the ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) which included an optional task about benefits which was part of one optional section of one optional module.
The author of the Spectator article, however, seems to have missed the “optional” description. In response to a tweet which must have accused him of making things up, he wrote:
“@jdportes I didn't make up any facts. The factcheckers discovered that there is in fact a module in a BTEC on claiming the dole (35 minutes ago)”
What the “factcheckers” actually found was “Learning which benefits unemployed individuals might be entitled to is part of the [CoPE] course, but is only one optional task (out of ten) in one optional section (out of three) in one optional module (out of twelve)".
So, the task wasn’t actually a whole module just a tenth of an optional section in an optional one.
FullFact concluded “This is one example of 'Chinese whispers' that needs to be put to bed.” Let's hope we hear no more exagerrated claims about GCSEs in drawing the dole.