Pearson BTEC Level 3 Technical Levels – Tech levels (reformed)

Qualification codes
603/1206/3 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Technical Level in Food and Beverage Service Supervision)
603/1208/7 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Technical Level in Professional Cookery for Professional Chefs (Chef de Partie))
603/1207/5 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Technical Level in Professional Cookery for Professional Chefs (Kitchen and Larder))
603/1209/9 (Pearson BTEC Level 3 Technical Level in Professional Cookery for Professional Chefs (Patisserie and Confectionery))

The Department for Education (DfE) describes Tech level qualifications as follows:

Tech levels are rigorous advanced (Level 3) technical qualifications on a par with A levels and recognised by employers. They are for students aged 16 plus who want to specialise in a specific industry or prepare for a particular job. They cover jobs and careers where employers recruit people at this level, or where a Level 3 qualification is needed before students can progress to a related higher education course. Tech levels give students an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and skills to help them get an apprenticeship or job, for example in engineering, IT, accounting, or professional cookery, or progress to a higher level qualification. In some cases, a Tech level qualification is a ‘licence to practise’, or can exempt someone holding the qualification from a professional exam. Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers. Alternatively, the qualification may be accepted by a national licensed professional registration scheme.


All units are assessed using a grading scale of Distinction, Merit, Pass.

Students must pass all units to achieve the qualification. Unit grades receive points proportionate to the GLH for the unit. The qualification grade is determined by aggregating the points for all units.

The qualification grading scale is as follows:







The first awards for this qualification will be in 2018.


As noted in 'Education context', to be classified as a Tech level qualification, the qualification in question must meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • a minimum of 30% external assessment
  • a minimum of 40% mandatory core content
  • an element of synoptic assessment
  • there is a single resit opportunity

The above are the minimum requirements set out by the Department for Education.

In these qualifications, there is 100% mandatory content, and the percentages of external/internal/synoptic assessment are as follows:

Chef de Partie:

  • 35% external assessment
  • 65% internal assessment
  • 12% synoptic assessment (through an internally assessed unit specific to the specialism)

Patisserie and confectionery:

  • 41% external assessment
  • 59% internal assessment
  • 10% synoptic assessment (through an internally assessed unit specific to the specialism)

Kitchen and Larder:

  • 48% external assessment
  • 52% internal assessment
  • 12% synoptic assessment (through an internally assessed unit specific to the specialism)

Food and Beverage Service Supervision:

  • 50% external assessment
  • 50% internal assessment
  • 17% synoptic assessment (through an internally assessed unit specific to the specialism)

External assessment is through 75-minute, 60-mark onscreen tests with a range of different question types. These are on demand from January 2018.

Internal assessment is through assignments set and marked by the provider. Colleges may set their own assignments but these are approved by the standards verifier. Pearson provides suggestions in each unit for setting assignments. The assessments are subject to external standards verification by Pearson.

Further information

Tech level qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to specialise in a specific industry, occupation, or occupational group. They equip students with specialist knowledge and skills.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to their predecessors and Applied General qualifications, and are likely to result in students developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains uptodate.
  • The reformed qualifications include both external and synoptic assessment, as well as changes to resit processes. These changes are likely to result in fewer students passing the qualification. Equally, it is likely that grade distributions will change. In light of this, HEPs may wish to review their entry requirements, offer-making, and decision-making strategies in relation to these qualifications.
  • The reformed and interim reformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version on their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • A larger mandatory core means HEPs that require certain levels of achievement in particular units, or ask for specific units to satisfy subject knowledge requirements, should familiarise themselves with the new content specifications to ensure these requirements are still valid. It should be noted that not all students will be able choose their optional units, and these may be prescribed by the school or college, therefore HEPs should be cautious if requiring achievement in optional modules as part of their entry requirements, offer-making, and decision-making strategies.

Applicants holding reformed Tech level qualifications will have had experience of external and synoptic assessment.

Tech level qualifications are supported by at least five employers from the job sector the qualification is related to. All students have to take part in meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study. Examples are work placements, taking part in projects, or some of the course being taught by someone who works in the industry.

Students wishing to apply to HE would need to take this qualification alongside other Level 3 qualifications, which would normally be other vocational qualifications in hospitality but which could be A levels. It could also be taken alongside an advanced apprenticeship in hospitality, supervision and leadership.

This qualification would benefit progression to HE programmes in hospitality or hospitality management. It will also develop leadership and employability skills, and so aid progression to employment.

The first applicants with this qualification could be applying for HE courses starting in autumn 2018.

View DfE’s technical guidance

View the specifications for:

The letters of support from employers cover all four qualifications. They may be accessed on the Pearson web page for each of the qualifications. View the posting on the Food and Beverage Service Supervision page:…