Available courses

The Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Performing Arts has been designed primarily for young people aged 14 to 19 who may wish to explore a vocational route throughout Key Stage 4, but it is also suitable for other learners who want a vocationally focused introduction to this area of study. It has been developed to:

  • encourage personal development through practical participation and performance in a range of performing arts disciplines
  • give learners a wider understanding and appreciation of performing arts through defined pathways
  • provide education and training for performing arts employees
  • give opportunities for performing arts employees to achieve a nationally recognised level 1 or level 2 vocationally specific qualification
  • give full-time learners the opportunity to progress to other vocational qualifications, such as BTEC Nationals, specifically the Pearson BTEC Level 3 in Performing Arts (QCF), and, in due course, to progress to employment in the performing arts sector
  • give full-time learners the opportunity to progress to general qualifications, such as the Pearson GCE in Drama and Theatre Studies
  • give learners the opportunity to develop a range of skills, techniques and personal attributes essential for successful performance in working life.

The Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Performing Arts has been designed to provide an engaging and stimulating introduction to the world of performing arts.  The qualification builds on learning from Key Stage 3 for those who may wish to explore a vocational route throughout Key Stage 4. It also provides a good introduction to performing arts for learners in post-16 education, ensuring that every learner taking the qualification completes it with a level of understanding and skill on which to build at a later date.

This Award offers a choice of pathways for learners designed to provide programmes of study to suit individual needs. Pathways that are available are:

  • BTEC First Award in Performing Arts (Acting)
  • BTEC First Award in Performing Arts (Dance)
  • BTEC First Award in Performing Arts (Production)
  • BTEC First Award in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre)
  • BTEC First Award in Performing Arts (Music Performance)

The qualification provides opportunities for learners to focus on the development of personal, learning and thinking skills, and English and mathematics knowledge and skills, in a performing arts context.

Employers value employees who are able to communicate effectively both verbally and using electronic communication methods. The qualification also provides opportunities for learners to develop their communication skills as they progress through the course. This can be achieved through presentations and in discussions where they have the opportunity to express their opinions.

From the knowledge and skills developed in this qualification learners may expect,  in due course, to seek employment at a junior level working with companies in the performing arts and related sectors in a range of roles, including performing in its various forms; stage management, production and set design; and related administration and technical roles

Objective of the qualifications

The Pearson BTEC Entry Level (Entry 3) and Pearson BTEC Level 1 in Performing Arts have been developed to give learners the opportunity to:

  • engage in learning which is relevant to them and will provide opportunities to develop a range of skills and techniques, personal skills and attributes essential for successful performance in working life
  • achieve a nationally recognised Entry or Level 1 vocationally related qualification
  • progress to employment in a particular vocational sector
  • progress to related general and/or vocational qualifications

Progression opportunities through Pearson qualifications

BTEC Entry 3 and Level 1 qualifications are designed to enhance learners’ work and life skills in a range of vocational contexts. They are appropriate for a diverse range of learners including:

  • 14-19 year-old learners
  • adults returning to study
  • those seeking to develop greater independence
  • those who have not yet achieved accredited qualifications
  • those with specific learning needs.

The intended destinations for learners successfully achieving these qualifications include:

  • GCSEs and/or A Levels
  • Diplomas
  • apprenticeships
  • supported employment
  • independent living.

BTEC Entry 3 and Level 1 qualifications provide some of the underpinning knowledge and understanding for the National Occupational Standards for the sector, where these are appropriate. They are supported by the relevant Standards Setting Body (SSB) or Sector Skills Council (SSC). They attract achievement and attainment points that equate to similar-sized general qualifications and are listed in the Foundation Learning Tier catalogue.

Pearson BTEC Entry Level Award (Entry 3) (6 credits)

The 6-credit Pearson BTEC Entry Level Award (Entry 3) (QCF) offers a ‘taster’ qualification that focuses on the personal qualities and work skills that are required for a particular vocational sector.

Qualification structures

The learner will need to meet the requirements outlined in the table below before Pearson can award the qualification.

Minimum number of credits that must be achieved at Entry 3: 6

Unit Details


Unique Reference NumberOptional unitsLevelCredit

Guided Learning Hours


D/502/3823 Introduction to the Performing Arts Entry 3




A/502/3828 Taking Part in a Performance Entry 3




F/502/3829 Starting to Develop Performance Skills Entry 3




The table below gives a summary of the assessment methods used in the qualifications.

UnitsAssessment method
All units Centre-devised assessment

Centre-devised assessment (internal assessment)

Each unit has specified learning outcomes and assessment criteria. To pass an internally assessed unit, learners must meet all the assessment criteria. Centres may find it helpful if learners index and reference their evidence to the relevant learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Centres need to write assignment briefs for the learners to show what evidence is required. Assignment briefs should indicate clearly, which assessment criteria are being targeted.

Assignment briefs and evidence produced by learners must also meet any additional requirements in the Information for tutors section of the unit.

Unless otherwise indicated in Information for tutors, the centre can decide the form of assessment evidence (eg performance observation, presentations, projects, tests, extended writing) as long as the methods chosen allow learners to produce valid, sufficient and reliable evidence of meeting the assessment criteria.

Centres are encouraged to provide learners with realistic scenarios and maximise the use of practical activities in delivery and assessment.

To avoid over assessment centres are encouraged to link delivery and assessment across units.

This course page allows you to complete all work for your BTEC Entry 3 qualification electronically. There are a variety of tasks to complete and areas to write your log. Work through the exercises and activities in sucession until all the work is complete.

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:

Degrees in:

  • Performance
  • Theatre Studies
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Dance Culture and Choreography
  • Acting.

HNC/HNDs in:

  • Performing Arts
  • Acting
  • Dance.

Further specialised vocational qualifications at conservatoires and drama schools:

  • RADA
  • 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
  • independence
  • preparation for assessment methods used in degrees.