Thousands of young people received results today but there’s been little media interest.
Tomorrow will be different. The media will be saturated with articles, analysis, comments, opinions and pictures of pretty girls leaping in the air waving bits of paper. That’s because tomorrow is A level results day.
But no such publicity today.
The results I’m talking about are not academic exams but vocational qualifications. Thousands of further education students have just learned whether they’ve passed their BTec exams but their achievement has been ignored by politicians and most of the media.
Radio 4’s Today did acknowledge BTec success. It interviewed students who’d just received their results. An aspiring chef who’d achieved Level 2 in catering is off to a Michelin-starred restaurant to work towards Level 3 (A level equivalent). A young engineer’s Level 3 pass means she can go to university to study Architectural Engineering.
It speaks volumes about British attitudes towards vocational courses that there is silence when BTec results are published. No media comment. No ministerial congratulations.
Politicians pay lip service about the importance of vocational training but their muted voices undermine their protestations. Worse, their actions are undermining the BTec system which has provided vocational exams for years.
The present crop of politicians push T-Levels which they say will be A level equivalent and carry the same prestige. But BTec Level 3 is already equivalent to A levels. And Level 2 BTec isn’t meaningless just because it isn’t A level equivalent. It shows candidates are proficient at a level which gains them entry to a particular career.
Tomorrow will be important for all students collecting A level results. And it’s right to praise them. But it’s equally important to praise students successful with BTec.
UPDATE 15 August 2019, 08.59. The Department for Education has issued a blog which appears to damn BTECs with faint praise. This will be the subject of an article to be published shortly.