Who is this qualification for?
The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts is intended as an Applied General qualification for post-16 learners who want to continue their education through applied learning. The aim of the qualification is to prepare learners for entry to higher education, probably to a sector-related degree which could in turn lead to employment in the performing arts.
- The qualification is equivalent in size to three A levels, and it has been designed as a full two-year programme. Learners wishing to take this BTEC will have successfully completed a Level 2 programme of learning with GCSEs and potentially some vocational qualifications.
- The qualification gives learners the opportunity to focus on a particular aspect of the performing arts sector through the extensive common core followed by a selection of optional units.
What does this qualification cover?
- The content of this qualification has been developed in consultation with academics to ensure that it supports progression to higher education. In addition, employers and professional bodies have been involved and consulted in order to confirm that the content is also appropriate and consistent with current practice.
This qualification includes seven mandatory units, covering the following areas:
- performance – practical exploration and application of skills and techniques, individual and group performance
- research and analysis - research methodology, independent learning, extended writing, sourcing, idea generation, evaluating information and drawing conclusions from it
- knowledge and skills for employment in performing arts – including self-promotion and marketing.
The mandatory content for the qualification is equivalent in size to two A levels, so higher education representatives have confirmed that learners can choose their six optional units from a wide range of units. This will enable learners to explore their own choice of disciplines for further study. Certain combinations of optional units may lead to an endorsement in the title of the qualification gained, to reflect the discipline chosen.
The disciplines covered are:
- BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) – optional units cover different types of dance, including ballet, tap, and street dance as well as looking at health factors specific to dancers.
- BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Acting) – optional units cover directing, acting styles, improvisation and audio performance.
- BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) – optional units cover singing techniques, dance, acting styles, and musical theatre techniques.
Learners can also choose options across the disciplines, rather than focus on a particular one, and achieve the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts.
Whichever route is chosen, the same range of progression routes remains open to learners; the title gives an indication of the nature of the option units studied.
The large core of mandatory content in this qualification gives a strong basis for progression to higher education, and means that learners can choose a combination of optional units that best reflects their strengths and interests, without closing down any route.
What could this qualification lead to?
In addition to the performing arts sector-specific content, this qualification provides learners with the opportunity to develop all-round performance skills and transferable skills such as self-confidence, self-presentation, personal discipline, time management and organisational skills which are highly regarded by higher education and employers.
The pathways allow students to focus a proportion of their course on particular disciplines in performing arts, and their aim is to indicate to end users what that focus has been; but the choice does not restrict future progression.
This BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts is intended to carry UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as meeting admission requirements for many relevant courses, for example:
- Theatre Studies
- Dance Culture and Choreography
- Performing Arts
Further specialised vocational qualifications at conservatoires and drama schools:
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama
- Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
- Conservatoires and ballet schools in Professional Dance
Learners should always check the entry requirements for degree programmes specific higher education providers.
How does the qualification provide employability skills?
In the BTEC National units there are opportunities during the teaching and learning phase to give learners practice in developing employability skills. Where employability skills are referred to in this specification, we are generally referring to skills in the following three main categories:
- cognitive and problem-solving skills: use critical thinking, approach non-routine problems applying expert and creative solutions, use systems and technology
- intrapersonal skills: communicating, working collaboratively, negotiating and influencing, self-presentation
- interpersonal skills: self-management, adaptability and resilience, self-monitoring and development.
There are also specific requirements in some units for assessment of these skills where relevant, for example, where learners are required to undertake real or simulated activities.
How does the qualification provide transferable knowledge and skills for higher education?
All BTEC Nationals provide transferable knowledge and skills that prepare learners for progression to university. The transferable skills that universities value include:
- the ability to learn independently
- the ability to research actively and methodically
- being able to give presentations and being active group members.
BTEC learners can also benefit from opportunities for deep learning where they are able to make connections among units and select areas of interest for detailed study. BTEC Nationals provide a vocational context in which learners can develop the knowledge and skills required for particular degree courses, including:
- reading texts
- extended writing
- analytical skills
- creative development
- communication skills
- collaborative skills
- preparation for assessment methods used in degrees.