What is the Difference?

The following pages contain all of the details about the courses we offer. Our courses fall under three broad categories: A-Levels, Vocational and Apprenticeships.

A-Levels give you a broader pathway to university and suit students who want to progress onto specific courses at university. It is possible to study either three or four A-Levels in your first year. Our expert staff will advise you as to which is the best option for you. You can study any combination of A-Levels that you would like to do. Please note that some university degree courses will require you to study specific A-Levels and we offer advice and guidance to ensure you select the most appropriate ones.

Vocational courses have a mix of practical and academic content and are generally designed for students who wish to go directly into employment or go on to further training or a university course of a related area. Students study one vocational course only. Vocational courses are offered at different levels to suit the needs and abilities of our students.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of earning money and gaining work experience while you learn. Typically, you will complete a Level 2 NVQ alongside your work placement. Many students also go on to complete a Level 3 NVQ as part of an Advanced Apprenticeship. In order to start an Apprenticeship, you will have to be successful in an interview to gain employment. See page 18 for more details.

Your options
If you are unsure about which course option is right for you, do not worry. We understand that it is a big decision. If you are unsure what you want to do, you can still apply to College and we can discuss your options at your interview. You are not committed to the courses you apply for or are offered at your interview; you do not have to make your final choice until you enrol.

Entry Requirements
The entry requirements for all of our courses are stated on the individual course pages throughout this guide. Grade requirements listed are for GCSE grades. Other qualifications will be considered on an individual basis. Please note that the entry requirements stated in this course guide are based on the current GCSE grading. The grading of GCSEs will start to change from Summer 2017.  In August 2017, the new grading system will be in place for Maths and English, meaning that students joining in September will have Maths and English grades from 9-1 rather than A*-G.  The college will take a 4 as a C and a 5 as a B for the purpose of entry qualifications. Click here for more details.

GCSE Grades are Changing
GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade. English literature, English language and maths will be the first subjects to be graded in this way from August 2017. The subjects with the highest numbers of candidates (e.g. arts, humanities, languages) will follow in 2018 and most others in 2019. This is happening as GCSEs are being reformed to make them more challenging, to keep pace with employers’ and universities demands.

In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, students who would have got a grade C or better will get a grade 4 or better. Students who would have got a Grade A or better will get a 7 or better in the first year. Grade 9 will be more difficult to achieve than a grade A*. The extra top grade will also make it easier for employers and universities to distinguish between the most able students

To see how the numbered grades compare to the current A* to G system, click here or Google “ofqual 9 to 1 postcard”. More information about when subjects will switch to the new grades is available on the Ofqual website here.

For example the A-Level entry requirements will be:

3 x B/5 and 3 x C/4 GCSE grades

Unless you want to study Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry or Physics and the entry requirements will be:

3 x B/5 and 3 x C/4 GCSE grades, including a B/6 in Mathematics.