Comparison of FOS and BOS with British “BTEC”

As we would like to give foreign readers an idea of the level of education at our school, we have prepared a comparison of the British Diploma called “BTEC Extended Diploma” with the qualifications that can be acquired at FOS and BOS.

“The BTEC Extended Diploma is a vocational qualification taken in England and Wales and Northern Ireland by young people aged 16 and over and by adults … [it] is equal to A-Levels … [and is taught] as a full-time two-year course.” (Wikipedia, BTEC Extended Diploma)

The system of FOS and BOS is for people of the same age and is based on a school-level qualification called “secondary school level certificate” which can be compared to the English O level or GCSE exam. The required time for getting the Bavarian qualification is almost the same as in Britain. It also depends on the personal situation and preferences how quickly one would finish school in Bavaria. It usually takes one year to get “Fachhochschulreife” at BOS but two years at FOS. Obtaining “Allgemeine Hochschulreife” or “Fachgebundene Hochschulreife” at BOS normally takes two years and three years at FOS. Pupils who enter BOS straight from the job market and who find it difficult to cope might even attend either a "Vorkurs" or a "Vorklasse" to be better preparerd for the 12th (and possibly) 13th form.  

Another difference is the wide variety of subjects which are available in Great Britain whereas there are only five branches available in Bavaria because the taught subjects are broader in scope. In the following you can see a comparison of the Bavarian branches and some British subjects. Please note that only three branches are available at the Maximilian-Kolbe-Schule.


Subjects for the BTEC Extended Diploma

FOS and BOS branches

Art and Design


3D Design, Design Crafts, Fashion & Clothing, Graphic Design, Interactive Media, Photography etc.




Depiction, art appreciation, information technology etc.




24 Business courses available such as Law and Marketing and Human Resources




Business administration, accountancy, political economy, technology, jurisprudence etc.


No definite equivalent available


No definite equivalent available, most likely a mix of Construction, Science and IT and Computing




Physics, chemistry, information technology,technical drawing, mathematics etc.


Health and Care


Health & Social Care, Early Years, Health Studies and Care


Social Work / Social Studies


Pedagogy, psychology, biology, jurisprudence,music lessons etc.


Land-based subjects


Countryside management, Animal management, Horticulture etc.




Biology, chemistry, physics, information technology, business economics



Both the BTEC Extended Diploma and all qualifications available at FOS and BOS aim at the same goal: They qualify for a degree level at university.

Furthermore, the BTEC Extended Diploma and FOS have one important similarity: They both require a work placement for successful graduation (BOS does not because of the pupils’ work experience and/or completed apprenticeship prior to their admission). For more detailed information on the work placements at FOS, please see Work placements for pupils of the FOS.




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