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Hi guys! My drama teacher has been looking into technical course for me too do, (I'm 13, year 9).


She has told me about the BTEC course, in my first year I plan on doing the production unit, lighting unit and sound unit. The only problem is, at the end of my first year my school will shut down and I will be transferred to another school. Should I try and find another school that will get someone to teach me the second year? Or should I just take the 'first certificate'? (if I pass, hopefully, fingers crossed :-))


Thanks in advance,


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Where are you based?


There is a college in South Buckinghamshire that runs a Production Arts National BTEC course. Its a two year commitment and students who are successful have a choice of either advancing to a four year BA Production Arts course of doing a HE version of the National BTEC at the same institution.


I wouldn't stay on if the school is going to close down after your first year especially if you want to get the full BTEC.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't forget that First Certificate is Level 2 - GCSE equivalent, the other - the National is Level 3. If you can knock off the 3 production units in the year, then as far as BTEC are concerned they are kind of 'in the bank', so if you transfer to somewhere who do BTEC, even if they don't do that mix, it's usually possible to get them added in - subject to a few rules about what are called 'programme areas titles' - PATS. So if (ridiculously) you tried to do a Dance PAT at the new place, it would be tricky adding production units to it.


What concerns me more is that the 3 units you mention, which are extremely well written and excellent in terms of content and 'do-ability' - are not really written for year 10 students, which presumably is what you'll be in next year? Level 3 assumes you're working at A level standard, is this correct. You also need to be working on proper productions. Usually the places that do the production units also are running Musical Theatre, Music or Dance - and use these as the material for the students to work on. Do you have such productions? The content of those units means plenty of hard technical work to do, quite a bit of underpinning theory too - does your teacher really think s/he can teach you this, working on your own? The kind of problems I see are that if there is a show on, somebody will be doing LX, somebody else sound and somebody else stage - if there is only you, it won't work. Level 2 still needs this system really - just not so intense.


CharlieH - the number of schools running the production units is quite low compared to the acting singing and dancing - again, the snag is that these units need real production to work on. They are not designed to be used like this - and to be honest, costs are quite high for the centre, so doing it as an after hours activity would be tricky.

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FYI. I'm currently studying in Southend at the South East Essex College... I study the BND Technical Theatre course which is absolutely fantastic.. The course content is brilliant and the amount of practical experience you get is top notch..


It might be worth you have a look at that! They also do a BNA & BNC

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I am actually in year nine! But I passed my maths, English, ICT, and citizenship GCSEs last year. So I am hoping that I will be ok. I think she plans on teaching me some of it herself and sending me to local theatres to work with their technicians on dates and work experience.




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If you want to pass on my details to her, I can have a chat if she wants. To be honest, there is a guided learning hours requirement, and other things in the spec that might be a little troublesome for casual teaching.


At the risk of boring people not interested if you wish to have a qualification, then you need in effect 5 or 6 units. 3 units studied in isolation, don't really count unless they can be added to when you go somewhere else. WARNING - the qualifications are at the end of this run, and the ones starting in 2010 will be on a new framework - as a result, you cannot add old specification units to a new specification - it may be possible to map grades across, but that's for your new school or college to do, and they may not wish to.


The rules for a current National Award are as follows:


The Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Award in Production Arts (Theatre Technology)

consists of two core units plus specialist units that provide for a combined total of

360 guided learning hours (GLH) for the completed qualification.


Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Award in Production Arts (Theatre Technology)


Unit Core units Guided Learning Hours

8 Production for Theatre Performance 120

65 Technical Stage Operations 60


Unit Specialist units

62 Stage Technical Maintenance 60

63 Temporary Stage Electrical Installation 60

64 Stage Technology Installation 60

66 Stage Lighting Operations 60

67 Stage Lighting Design 60

68 Automated Stage Lighting 60

69 Stage Sound Operations 60

70 Stage Sound Design 60 3

71 Live Sound for the Stage 60

91 Special Effects and Animated Props for the Stage 60



So it's a little more complex than you think.


I'm quite happy to chat with her (or you) if you PM me, I'll send back a phone and real email - same applies to anyone who wants proper info on BTEC.



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I'm not sure if its up to the level you require but if you are looking for a 1 year course NCFE have a level 1 technical theatre qualification here http://www.ncfe.org.uk/Qualinfo.aspx?qual=...54-2c1d1109b3bb


Its 90 hours and I teach it to years 9 and 10 students in a year easily. They don't do a level 2 yet but it might be worth asking if it can be added or transfered to a level 2 from another course provider at a later date.


It might be to low a level for you but thought I'd mention it anyway.

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We have a year 9, completed GCSE early, looking at a programme aimed at post compulsory education. To be honest, a Level 1 course would be a bit of an insult. The other thing is that while funding would be available for a Level 3, it's unlikely the school could get a current Level 2 learner funded for a level 1.


What people need to understand is that extra education and training really does cost somebody money. Registration fees alone are very expensive, visiting examiners and verifiers for a single person are not cheap, and unless the school can get some funding to pay for this, it's very unlikely they could afford to do this. On top of all this, when they sign up to a new programme, they have to guarantee to the exam board they have the staff with the correct skills and the facilities before approval is given. This approval is easier than it used to be - less paperwork, but schools just can't run whatever they like, especially if the idea is to do it kind of off-timetable.

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Hey there,


I'm currently studying BTEC Production Arts at a college in Buckinghamshire, if your wanting details about the course/who to contact regarding information about my course just drop me a message and I'll be more than willing to give you a hand! :-)

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