New Higher Technical Qualifications
Pearson are aligning existing Higher National programmes with the IfATE requirements for Higher Technical Qualifications in England to create a new type of HN, specifically ensuring appropriate coverage of the Occupational Standard that the pathway or qualification aligns to.
BTEC Higher Nationals still exist as a distinct qualification type. The HTQ quality mark that they receive when approved as HTQs signals to employers and students that they are considered high quality technical education, developed with employers and aligned to Occupational Standards.
HTQs differ to T Levels in a way that they do not include a requirement placement. However, some HNs do stipulate a placement as part of the requirements for achieving the qualification. For HNs where this is not the case, you may decide a placement is a suitable addition to the programme.
Approved Higher Technical Qualifications
Organisations that wish to submit qualifications to IfATE for approval need to do so within set approval windows. The first window took place in 2021 and covered digital qualifications – this is when Pearson was given the HTQ quality mark for the BTEC Higher National Diploma in Computing (2022).
Higher Technical Qualifications Examples
You may have noticed that our HND in Computing was given the quality mark, but not the HNC. Which specification is approved depends on the approach taken in each HN in relation to the level of the Occupational Standard it maps to.
In all cases, a HN at Level 4 cannot be approved as HTQ against an Occupational Standard at Level 5. A Higher National at Level 5 may be approved against Occupational Standards at Level 4 (as in the Higher Nationals Diploma in Computing).
Higher Nationals for England (HTQ)
In essence, the qualification that was approved as HTQ by IfATE is a different specification to the one your centre may be delivering now. You will be able to tell which HN is HTQ approved due to the addition of ‘for England’ to the title, as the HTQ quality mark is an England only concept.
Our RQF qualifications are usually reviewed every five years, however, in order to gain the HTQ quality mark, we may need to review the qualification earlier or later.
As a result, HN Computing students who are on, or have completed, the RQF HNC Level 4 (non-HTQ) could transfer onto HTQ RQF HND Level 5. This is possible by using Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Centres will need to ensure that students have covered any additional teaching, learning and assessment in the new units.