BTEC Level 1 (FLT) one of the best kept secrets in science teaching…

I don’t get why Pearson aren’t singing about this qualification.  It’s a level one qualification and it so it has limited appeal but there are a number of reasons that heads of science should pay attention to this qualification.

  • It is portfolio based assessment with NO examination.  This makes it suitable for learners with SEN (or possibly EAL students)
  • It is worth slightly more than an F at GCSE, which makes it appropriate for SEN and LA students.
  • It is on the list of approved qualifications for 2016 (and of course 2015 if you want to run it in a year)
  • The certificate can be taught in a year (I know this from personal experience)
  • You (the teacher) design the assessment tasks so can be personalised for teaching groups

There are however a number of downfalls to this qualification:

  • paperwork – you need to track every assignment and keep central records that others can access (I have 12 assignments covering the certificate qualification).
  • quality assurance – someone has to take the OSCA lead internal verifier qualification otherwise you will be subject to mandatory sampling.  Someone in the school has to act as a quality nominee (exams officer?) who will get a visit and a grilling as part of the QA process.
  • Assignment briefs MUST be verified before using and at least 50% of the marked work must be internally verified as well (and your policies must explain how this will work).
  • The qualification is pass or fail.  A new version could be in the pipeline that has pass/merit/distinction grades (there was such a version before QCF!)

I’ve been running this qualification since it was introduced as it suits the needs of many of my learners (I’m currently teaching it alongside GCSE as some of my students have target grades above an F).  I’ve uploaded many of the resources I have used and will continue to upload resources/assignments as I make them.

I’ve included some screenshots of the Edexcel site that show you where to find the specs for this qualification.

Let me know if you have any questions or you see any teaching resources that appear to be missing and I’ll do my best to help.


The location of the BTEC Science page has moved as Pearson removes the Edexcel branding from their products.  As with all level 1 qualifications, look for the foundation learning link.

Also this BTEC will no longer count in performance tables.  Here is the update from Pearson:

  • From the 2017 performance tables onwards, vocational qualifications for 14- to 16-year olds will be reclassified as Technical Awards. This will apply to all qualifications on the 2017 list, not just new qualifications submitted for the first time. For example, the current next generation BTEC Firsts will be eligible for consideration for the 2017 lists.
  • From the 2017 performance tables onwards, non-GCSE qualifications that have a significant overlap in content with any EBacc GCSEs will not be included. BTEC Applied Science qualifications come into this category. This means that Year 10 learners starting their course in September 2014 will be the last group whose BTEC Applied Science qualifications will contribute to performance tables. We understand that many centres will wish to continue to offer BTECs in Applied Science, however, if you operate a three-year KS4 programme, BTEC Applied Science results will not count in performance tables for the Year 9 cohort starting in September 2014.

8 replies on “BTEC Level 1 (FLT) one of the best kept secrets in science teaching…”

  1. We’ve tried the ‘mainstream’ BTEC Principles with our SEN group this year, who were capable of reaching L2 in some assignments, but were not going to get more than L1 overall due to the exam. I produced a variety of resources to support them and they were used to supplement the assignments. I believe the exam board aren’t keen on this, but we wanted there to be opportunity for some of the stronger students to reach L2 in one or several of the units.

    1. The beauty of this qualification is that there is no level 2 but that can also be a limitation too. Combined with no exam it can be fantastic for SEN students 🙂

  2. Hi Rob
    This reminds me of a pre GCSE course we taught called mode 3 CSE. Essentially it allowed teachers to design and implement their own courses that could be tailored to your students, and take account of local resources and facilities. I would like to see more opportunities like this for teachers to use their professionalism in designing appropriate courses, whilst sharing resources and expertise.
    How do your students respond? And their parents?

    1. Generally parents of SEN pupils are more interested in the holistic education of the child rather than individual exam grades. Of course they like their child to do well, and to get an examination certificate that shows this, but they aren’t interested in headline figures and performance tables.

      What I would like to see is for schools to pick qualifications based on the needs of the child rather than lists Mr Gove and his successor think are good.

      I do know of other portfolio based accreditation but it doesn’t carry credit in the performance tables like BTEC FLT.

  3. Hi agree with all comments, especially the pitfall of the paperwork. This is my first year running this course with an SEN group, all should achieve their level 1 if they attend school and complete all their assignments. It would be great to have some transition of more able in the group, but I’m actually delivering a second course to them along side their class to ensure they get the grade they are capable of, labour intensive.

    1. Paperwork and tracking is hard, especially if you have any low attenders, as they need to pass everything to get the qualification. Ironically level 1 BTEC used to go from G to D with three tiers. Edexcel are piloting a return to this system later this year I believe, just in time for progress 8… 🙁

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