How we enrich the curriculum to provide vocational opportunities for students
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How we enrich the curriculum to provide vocational opportunities for students. Sandra Carter Chelsea Potgieter. Profile.

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How we enrich the curriculum to provide vocational opportunities for students

How we enrich the curriculum to provide vocational opportunities for students

Sandra Carter

Chelsea Potgieter


Sandra Carter is the Vice Principal at Cambridge International where she is now in her fourth year. She has been associated with BTEC qualifications for over twenty years. In her previous appointment she was the Vice Principal at an Academy in England where she was responsible for the specialisms of Vocational Education and Business & Enterprise. Additionally, she was responsible for the upper school curriculum and alternative provision.  

She has a particular passion for helping students to see the relevance of lessons and developing the skills of the 21st Century. Hand in hand with this is a passion for developing staff to become more creative and enterprising. 

She has a BA (Hons) in Education & Training and an MSc in Tourism Management.

The nature of btecs
The Nature of BTECs

  • 100% Coursework

  • Levels 1/2/3 and beyond

  • Pass/Merit/Distinction

  • Encourages independence

  • Students work at their level

  • Gifted and talented students can achieve Distinction (equivalent to As at IGCSE or A and AS Level)

  • Students learn enterprising skills


  • Real links

  • Talks/visits/realistic tasks/workplace terminology

  • Learning to learn/independent learning

  • Deadlines/teamwork/enterprising skills

  • Development of the enterprising young person rather than the sole development of entrepreneurs who might set up in business

  • Not everyone can be an entrepreneur but everyone can be enterprising

  • Enterprising is in contrast to dependency

Examples of btecs offered by edexcel
Examples of BTECs offered by Edexcel

  • Business

  • Retail

  • Media

  • Fashion and clothing

  • Travel and Tourism

  • Telecommunications

  • Sport

  • Performing Arts

University views progression
University Views/Progression

  • UCAS points

  • UK universities recognize the enhanced skills base that a BTEC student has (research and independence).

  • Recent agreements made with 4 UAE Universities to accept Higher National students into year 2 or 3 of degree programs

  • Currently being fitted into the new UAE qualifications framework

The implications
The implications:

  • Staff experience/training

  • Perception of parents

  • Perception of some universities

  • Belief from the very top

  • A new style for students (Plagiarism/difficulty putting pen to paper)

What do the various stakeholders think the 1 st cohort of students
What do the various stakeholders think? The 1st Cohort of students.

  • Promotes presentation skills and confidence

  • Provides a significant level of challenge

  • Scope for creativity

  • Encourages independence

  • Develops teamwork

  • Keeps us up to date on the Business environment

  • Favored teaching methods – learn more

  • Interesting because of Business Links – Dubai Mall

What do the various stakeholders think chelsea potgieter
What do the various stakeholders think? Chelsea Potgieter

BTEC is now my passion, I love doing these assignments as I feel good about myself while doing it, not only do I learn things for myself but also from other students, I have made friends with people I never thought I could be friends with and they are all great in their own way.

I personally feel like a different person who is a lot more mature, confident and happy with what I am doing. BTEC has shown me the right path to go by. I would recommend students that feel that they aren’t achieving in their studies to try a BTEC because it’s a different way of learning that makes you believe you can do anything with a little effort and dedication.

What do the various stakeholders think tina davis teacher
What do the various stakeholders think?Tina Davis - Teacher

I was surprised to see her apply for a place in Year 12 (AS Level) as her grades at GCSE were below the required standard. However, Chelsea was interviewed by Sandra Carter for a place on the new BTEC Business course and was accepted. I thought she would struggle because this course was about meeting deadlines, which in my experience was not one of her strong points and I mentioned this to Sandra Carter.

I have never witnessed such a turnaround in a student. During Year 12 Chelsea blossomed and became a confident, mature young lady. She was very dedicated to the type of learning expected from BTEC and was eager to learn and take in as much information as she could. She worked hard and was rewarded with a distinction.

What do the various stakeholders think mr potgieter
What do the various stakeholders think?Mr Potgieter

……….However BTEC gave her the opportunity to look at learning in a whole new positive light. The topics and subjects offered by BTEC had a whole new meaning to her, she was able to grasp the concept of basic on the job training and other skills that she was not able to identify with easily. BTEC has been a revelation as Chelsea has been able to express herself more freely and openly and as a young adult she has shown confidence and become self-assertive.