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BTEC a pathway to success for students

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Warwick Academy has achieved accreditation for a course that will serve students seeking vocational experience and qualifications in the hospitality, leisure and tourism, and sport industries.

The Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification, being offered for the first time at the school, is designed as a pathway that can be taken in addition to the school's International Baccalaureate options. The course will be offered to Year 12 and 13 students with a BTEC taken alongside three IB individual subjects including English and maths.

With vocation in mind, the school is already making connections with businesses where students can gain practical experience, including the Fairmont hotels.

Staff at the school have been discussing BTEC, among other options, for about six years and decided that it was the “best fit”.

Warwick Academy principal Maggie McCorkell said: “It's an exciting venture for us. It provides a niche for students whose career aspirations don't necessarily lend themselves to the International Baccalaureate. “This not only allows them to make more use of their last two years at the school, it also gives them experience in the areas they are interested in, and qualifications that will be able to get them into the universities and colleges.”

The Hospitality course begins in April followed by Sports in September and Leisure and Tourism the following September.

The qualification enables students either to move in to higher education or enter straight into employment with each BTEC qualification offered at the school equating to one A-Level.

Warwick Academy's head of secondary Dave Horan, who facilitated the BTEC curriculum, said: “We've always had two traditionally academic groups at Warwick Academy — the IB Diploma which most of our students do and we have the IB individual subjects which a smaller number do. Then there has been a third stream of more practical, career-focused students.

“The subjects we have chosen reflect student interest, the resources and skills we already have on staff, and also the needs of Bermuda — what fits the Island.

“Laura Knight was doing the Food and Nutrition course and the Hospitality (BTEC) lent itself quite nicely to what she was doing. We have a sports department which lent itself to moving the GCSE PE course into something at BTEC level. We also have a business department that overlaps quite nicely with Leisure and Tourism.

Warwick Academy is an Edexcel (Pearson curriculum body) centre and the BTEC accreditation is gained through Edexcel. The school had to go through a rigorous process to gain accreditation and their teachers given training. Mr Horan stressed that the BTECs will not cannibalise the school's existing academic programmes.

“It is a different pathway,” he said. “This qualification really gives them the academic rigour and recognition — in other words they are getting something that has an international stamp on it so they can move quite easily. It is the cream on top.”

Exciting venture: Warwick Academy students are keen to take advantage of the new BTEC option. Pictured are Rio Morris (left), Caleb Lowe, Food and Nutrition teacher Laura Knight, Cydney Simons, and Chiffonae Jackson (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Something to smile about: Cydney Simons (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Rio Morris (left), Caleb Lowe, Food and Nutrition teacher Laura Knight, Cydney Simons, and Chiffonae Jackson (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Warwick Academy students Rio Morris (left), Caleb Lowe, Cydney Simons, and Chiffonae Jackson (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Warwick Academy student Caleb Lowe (Photo by Akil Simmons)
<p>The students’ perspective</p>

Laura Knight teaches Food and Nutrition at GCSE level at Warwick Academy and will now be teaching Hospitality to year 12 and 13 as part of the school’s new BTEC qualification.

She said: “We are going to be starting off with a year course and students can pick which units to take. You have to do some work in a hospitality industry unit so we are working quite closely with the Fairmont Southampton and will be reaching out to other hotels and restaurants on the Island.

“The students can choose different options — we are doing one unit on European food where the students have to look at six different countries and create meals — starters mains and desserts — from that country. The course is a good mix of individual and team work and it has a very hands-on approach. Another unit will be event planning where they have to plan and cater events.”

Caleb Lowe will be enrolling on the upcoming Hospitality BTEC in April. He said: “I decided to enrol because it helps further my education in the hospitality industry. It does the whole broad spectrum of the industry and gives me extra points towards going to university. I want to go to Cardiff Metropolitan University and study International Hospitality and Event Management.

“I would like to get some experience at the Fairmont hotels, I have shadowed there before and I really like the way they’re set up and how they treat their employees and I really like the atmosphere there.”

Cydney Simons, who will also join the Hospitality course, added: “It is more of a practical way of learning food and its very hands-on. It’s not just theory. I see myself studying Hospitality at University of Central Florida and Events Management, as well. I would like to get some experience in the restaurants in Bermuda to see how they are run here and more of the managing side of it and everything that goes into that.”

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Published March 19, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 19, 2015 at 1:05 am)

BTEC a pathway to success for students

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