24 May 2019

Vocational Learning Component

The Vocational Component of Bar training is currently fulfilled by completion of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

At the moment, the BPTC may be taken once the  Academic Component has been successfully completed. Following successful completion of the BPTC, and the qualifying sessions provided by their Inn, students may be called to the Bar and apply for pupillage.  

The BPTC is designed to ensure that students acquire the skills, knowledge of procedure and evidence, attitudes and competence to prepare them for the more specialised training of pupillage. The "qualifying sessions", which your Inn will provide, are educational and collegiate events designed to complement the formal training provided by the BPTC.

The full-time BPTC runs for one academic year; the part-time course for two years. All students are required to pass a Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) and to be admitted to an Inn of Court before registration on the BPTC.

We have produced some important advice about the things that need to be taken into account by those who wish to pursue a career at the Bar. We advise all prospective BPTC students to read it before applying for a course. Prospective students may also find it helpful to look at our BPTC Key Statistics document, which contains data on the make-up and performance of BPTC students across all providers.

An updated edition of statistical information on student performance on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) was published in May 2018. 

The complete BPTC statistics can be viewed on our website.

BPTC key statistics 2018 appendices.

BPTC key statistics 2018 Part 1: Overall trends.

BPTC key statistics 2018 Part 2: Full-time students by BPTC provider.

BPTC key statistics 2018 Part 3: Part-time students by BPTC provider.

BPTC key statistics 2018 Part 4: Graduate progression statistics. 

Future Bar Training (FBT) - What's changing?

Depending on which pathway is offered by an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO) components may be integrated rather than taken sequentially. See the becoming a barrister webpage.

Potential AETOs may apply for authorisation from early 2019. Once they are authorised by us, AETOs are likely to need to go through further internal approval processes to set up their new pathways. We anticipate that the first new pathways are likely to be up and running from September 2020.

If and when any training becomes available which increases the choice about how you may complete the Vocational Component, we will update the top part of this webpage accordingly.

The BPTC in its current form will be available in the 2019-20 academic year and applications will open in the usual way later in the 2018-19 academic year.

Nobody who has already completed a BPTC or who started a full-time BPTC in 2018-19 or a part-time BPTC in either 2017-18 or 2018-19, or who starts a course in 2019-20, will be disadvantaged as a result of any changes to Bar training as pupillages will still be available to them in the usual way.

Starting from the 2020-21 academic year, additional changes will be made to the curriculum and assessments on both the Vocational and Work-based Learning Components of training. You can read more about the changes to assessments on the Vocational Component.

If you would like to read more about all the FBT changes in one place, please visit our Future Bar Training webpage.                                                                                                                

If you are currently on the BPTC, have yet to complete the course, or are planning to start the BPTC in September 2019, then you will have the opportunity to complete the course as normal, with three attempts at each assessment as set out in the BPTC Handbook. However, if after Spring 2021 you have extenuating circumstances which means you have to defer sitting one of the centralised assessments, then you may be affected by the transitional arrangements which we have put in place for centralised assessments.

We have published a statement which sets out what the transitional arrangements will be for centralised assessments here. All current and prospective BPTC students should read this statement to find out how they may be affected.

For students who intend to start vocational training on one of the new approved pathways which will replace the BPTC from September 2020, more information will be published on the BSB website in due course. The process of authorising education and training organisations to deliver the new pathways will commence in April 2019 and courses will be advertised as "subject to authorisation" during this process.