Remy Shelton shares her experiences of planning for and delivering the new Tech Award in Enterprise.
Having taught BTECs for a number of years, it was a natural progression for my centre to remain with Pearson and start the new Tech Award in Enterprise at Level 2. For me, background knowledge of the course before delivery is essential. I need to get my head around units as a HOD but also for delivery purposes as a class room teacher. The natural first step was to sign up for the ‘getting ready to teach’ events. I truly find these events beneficial and extremely well-planned. The four hour event consisted of in-depth talks around the specification and the three components of the course. Unlike the NQF, units are now referred to as components and the requirements of the course at Level 2 has gone from four units to three components, which I feel leaves more time for teaching and learning around the key contents and themes of the topics.
The event provided opportunities for discussion of ideas and to share good practice within our groups. The leader of the session went through each component and allowed practioners to mark practice assessments and actual sampled work. We examined each assignment brief and shared opinions on how to tackle each assessment task. As a QN of my centre, I always ensure and recommend any new staff or staff delivering new courses to attend these helpful and most importantly, free events. I do find Pearson led events to always be quite well organised and useful. I also just find it really helpful to have the opportunity to speak to other centres and get a natural feel for the course first.
I still use my practice materials today and also gained a few emails from other teachers who have started the course already with their year 9 groups. This is definitely something I would like to introduce within my centre and can see the real benefits as a Head of Department and also for cross-curricular opportunities. Myself and my teaching team then signed up for the new Tech Award updates via email and of course joined the Facebook page. So many teachers are successfully into their second year of the course and are kindly sharing resources, ideas and provide regular tips on delivering assessment tasks. Before we started delivering the course in September 2018, I had already built a bank of resources that had been kindly shared. Thank you in advance if any of you are reading this article now.
As departmental budgets are tight, I needed to really decide on what would be the bare minimum for bought resources. The student book has been a great buy so far, alongside the active learn package of resources and worksheets. The book is very student friendly, with each component clearly labelled and referenced throughout. I have found the activities in the book to work well as starters and class activities for when key content is being delivered. The ‘did you know points’ have often been scanned onto the board to allow classroom discussion to take place. I have found the ‘getting started’ tasks to work really well as starters to settle my big class of 28, mixed ability and sometimes challenging group. Finally, when following the book for unit content I finish with the assessment practice. I usually set this task one to two weeks before hand out dates on my assessment plan. This task allows me to not only see which students are more likely gain a Distinction Level but which students may need to really check their understanding, before attempting their actual assessment activity. I tend to write the tips from the activity on the board and I usually turn the checkpoints into a table. This allows students to clearly see how to improve their work (strengthen tips in books) and how to get a higher grade (challenge tips in book).
The active learn package that I bought was full of useful worksheets which are all labelled alongside the topics from the unit content. These worksheets act as my weekly homework sheets when assessment activities are not taking place. Tasks range from Research activities to links to further online resources that students can use to answer their set questions. The online resource that usually comes with the package is also beneficial. This allow you to create an online library that can be shared amongst your department. The most valuable tool has been the online version of the text/student book. This has allowed me to go through the text or activities on the whiteboard .The online version of the text also appears with a tool bar of drawing tools, which helps with teaching and learning of new terminology.
In terms of delivery, we are running the course over the two years with the potential of running the course from year 9 in the near future. We have planned to complete Component 1 this year and hopefully start Component 2 within the summer months. We will then put Component 2 on hold and start the exam element of the course in the September of year 11. We will then focus only on Component 3 from September to February. This way we can focus exclusively on teaching the content of Component 3, for an exam sitting in February. Having coursework tasks alongside teaching exam elements has not always been successful for us and the students really struggle to balance two units at the same time as KS4.
Looking at the content needed for Component 3, it was great to see some cross-over from the NQF first award at Level 2. As a department, myself and my teaching team have started no planning for the exam element as of yet. However, old resources will definitely be used and adapted to meet the requirements for Component 3. Break-even analysis, cash flow, sources of finances and balance sheets are just a small number of topics that have been previously taught on the NQF specification. As for the promotion element of the Component, I think some Level 3 Unit 2 resources can be adapted to support the teaching and learning of the required content. Advertising and segmentation are definitely covered in Unit 2 for Level 3, meaning sometime maybe saved when planning these topics.
I will be definitely seeking support and resources from the networking and social media pages when planning for this component. As for the format of the external assessment, I quite like the look of required tasks, compared to the online assessments for the Level 2 NQF course. Of course, the assessment appeared to be easier with the Level 2 NQF requirements but I honestly think my students will find the written task accessible, once studies have been taught all of Component 1 and most of Component 2 have been taught. So far, I honestly feel the Tech Award really flows and allows students to develop strong subject knowledge and acquire a strong skills base, preparing them for their assessment.
Finally, I like how the assessments are based on entrepreneurs and refer to possible business scenarios. This will allow students to visualise the question when answering. The assessments will clearly require students to remember a number of key financial Formulae, which is no different to the assessment from the NQF award. This will also be great practice for those KS4 students who wish to progress onto KS5. Having taught the Unit 3 Financial Unit, it is apparent that there is again cross over with topics taught within the Tech Award and Level 3 RQF course. Again, making the Tech Award a natural progression for Level 2 learners to evolve. I feel most of my Level 2 learners will definitely be well- equipped in knowledge, if they decide to continue at KS5. Overall, I have had a positive start as a HOD and classroom teacher of the Tech Award course. I think Pearson have developed a great course based on what we have experienced so far. This course appears to be more manageable and a front-runner alternative to the GCSE route in Business Studies.
Remy Shelton is an Assistant Head of Sixth Form at the University Church of England Academy in Ellesmere Port.