Pearson to offer degrees in the UK

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, today announced plans to create a vocational degree, offered in partnership with further education colleges, that will give more students access to higher education in the UK and around the world.

Pearson already offers BTEC Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas in vocational subjects, studied in FE colleges over one or two years. HNDs are the equivalent of a foundation degree.

The first phase of Pearson’s vocational degree programmes will be developed in four subjects:

  • Business
  • Engineering
  • IT, and
  • health and social care

Further qualifications are under consideration in Law, Nursing, Education and Hospitality and Tourism.

Pearson also announced today the appointment of Roxanne Stockwell to lead development of the degree offer. Roxanne will join Pearson as Managing Director, Higher Education Awards in January 2011 from BPP.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said:

“Pearson has a strong track record of providing high quality vocational education in the UK, through BTEC qualifications up to HND (the equivalent of foundation degree) level. Now we want to take the next natural step to award full degrees. We will create a vocational BTEC degree that demands students meet rigorous standards and are able to flourish in their learning and lives.

“BTEC degrees will help fulfil the aspirations of those who want to get a vocational degree in order to progress to highly skilled technical careers, and who also want the flexibility to study part-time, or without moving away from home.

“We believe it is right to enable people to find ways of making progress through education. Such progress should not falter through lack of appropriate, affordable options and flexibility in delivery. Part of our commitment to this is to ensure that the BTEC degree is offered at a price which falls well within the current funding ceilings. This, combined with local access, will keep the cost of high quality higher education to a level acceptable to the majority.

“I am also delighted that Roxanne Stockwell is joining Pearson UK. Roxanne’s experience and understanding of technicalities and complexities involved in achieving degree awarding status will be invaluable to Pearson and we look forward to welcoming her.”

Higher Education Minister David Willetts today welcomed a new BTEC degree to deliver advanced skills for economic growth.

Responding to the announcement that Pearson, the leading education company, will create a new degree-level BTEC, Mr Willetts said:

“BTECs that are equivalent to GCSEs and A levels lead to higher earnings because employers respect them. But students cannot currently study BTECs at a higher level.

“So I am delighted that, after discussions with Pearson, this will now change. There will be a new rung on the ladder of opportunity. Further education colleges, universities and other training providers will be able to offer this tried-and-tested qualification at a higher level for the first time. Students, employers and the economy all stand to benefit.

“In the forthcoming higher education White Paper, we want to make it easier to award new high-quality and affordable degrees like BTECs. This is the key to extending opportunity, improving social mobility and raising skills.”


Notes to editors

  1. For more information or to request an interview with Rod Bristow, please call Brendan O’Grady or Sarah Whybrow on 07889 409 806 / 020 7190 5191.
  2. Last year over 100,000 people progressed on to higher education using a BTEC qualification as part of their application.
  3. This afternoon, Higher Education Minister David Willetts will make a speech on the need for high level skills, at an education conference organised by Edge and the Gatsby Foundation in central London. For more information contact BIS press office on 020 7215 5979.
  4. Pearson is the world’s leading learning company. In the UK, through names like Longman, Heinemann and Prentice Hall we have over a hundred years’ experience of developing resources for universities and schools. Our awarding body Edexcel has a hard-won reputation for rigorous assessment at Key Stage 2, GCSE, A-Level, and with BTECs at various levels.   Pearson operates in more than sixty-five countries, and is part of Pearson plc, along with the Financial Times and Penguin.