header Title

Vocational Education

What subjects are available?

Currently, BTECs cover the following subject areas at St. Matthew’s:


BTECs are widely recognised work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. Read on to find out more about how BTECs work and where they can take you. 

What is a BTEC?

  • BTECs are work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students.
  • They're built to accommodate the needs of employers and allow progression to university. 
  • They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory. 
  • They can be taken alongside, or in place of, GCSEs and A Levels. They can also form the knowledge component of Foundation Learning or BTEC Apprenticeships.
  • Available across a wide range of industry sectors, they're continually developed and updated to meet the needs of employers and learners.

We have a range of level 2 BTEC qualifications known as BTEC FIRST AWARDS (1 GCSE) available at St. Matthew’s, all of which are equivalent to GCSE’s at grades A* - C. 

On successful completion of a BTEC programme Learners are awarded with a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction * grade.

They are designed for those who are capable of achieving A*- to C-grade GCSEs, but who wish to focus on a work-related vocational qualification. Over 60 Level 2 BTEC First qualifications are available, each linked to an industry sector. Students may take Level 2 BTEC Firsts alongside core GCSE subjects such as English, maths and science.

 BTECs – the big benefits

To decide if a BTEC is right for you, you’ll need to know how BTECs differ from other qualifications and what advantages they have. 

A practical approach to study

BTECs offer practical experience that is often lacking in more traditional routes such as GCSEs. Students have to undertake a number of units for which they present evidence, based on real-life work and studies. This allows them to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in practical situations. If you think you would succeed better working in this way,

Keep your options open

There are many options available to school-leavers: further education, vocational degrees and apprenticeships and jobs that offer workplace learning. If you are not sure about the path you will wish to take, the flexibility of BTECs makes them a good choice, as they offer useful practical experience as well as a recognised qualification.

Inspiring confidence

Learning should be fun, not daunting. In our experience, students enjoy BTEC programmes because they can specialise in areas of learning linked with work that they are interested in, like sport or the music business. Courses tap into what they enjoy, feel good at and find familiar.

Students build their confidence because they are developing practical skills that will help them secure a job in the future. Answers to assignments may be in written form, but it’s just as likely they will be in other forms – such as film clips, project proposals, business plans and structured databases. Students are always given clear guidelines so they know what they have to achieve and how to do this.

Rewarding effort

Students will have to meet deadlines set by teachers, but can do this at their own pace rather than having to perform to the time constraints of an exam. Progress is monitored individually by teachers who provide personal support and guidance, helping students develop their learning skills and reach their potential. Learning is progressive, from small-scale and simple topics to larger and more complex themes.

Working together

Teamwork is an important aspect in the world of work. Not surprisingly, it is also a key feature of BTECs. Students work on assignments - such as a group drama production or manager-employee role-play - both individually and in groups. Some students may take time to adapt to these new ways of working, but they gradually understand what is expected of them. They learn even faster if, at Key Stage 4, they take more than one BTEC course, because they make connections and apply approaches to learning from one subject to another.

Where can a BTEC take you?

  • BTECs have been around for nearly 30 years and their reputation is second to none. 
  • They're recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the UK and in over 100 countries worldwide. 
  • They offer natural progression along a vocational path, from and to academic qualifications and university. 
  • BTEC qualifications are developed with key industry representatives and sector skills councils.

To find out more about BTEC qualifications at St. Matthew’s you can contact Mrs Rachel Walsh ( Head of Vocational Education ) 

Further information is also available on the following website www.edexcel.com

For a Parent's guide and Learner's guide click here

St Matthew's HS have won the Business in the Community - North West Local Impact Award 2013, in partnership with Wates Construction. Click here for more Information