Types of courses

There are two broad categories of study programmes available to students:

  • Advanced Level Programme - for students who have, or expect to achieve, five GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (see the GCSE grading scale factsheets on the gov.uk website).
  • Intermediate Level Programme - for students who have, or expect to achieve, an average of a grade 3 over their four best subjects at GCSE.

Advanced Level Programme

Within the Advanced Level Programme, students can sign up for the following courses:

  • A Levels  
  • BTEC Level 3 qualifications
  • Technical level courses

A Levels

Students who enjoy an intellectual challenge and are confident about doing well under exam conditions, are usually best suited to doing A Levels.

The 'norm' is for students to take three A Levels over two years.  Students with high GCSE scores may wish to take four subjects but would usually cash one of these in as an AS Level (if this is an option) at the end of the Lower Sixth.  Please note not all courses have nestable AS levels.  

Some students do a combination of A Levels,  BTEC Level 3 qualifications and Technical Level qualifications.  See Mix and Match Programme.

BTEC Level 3

BTEC Level 3 courses are practical, vocational courses, assessed mainly through coursework and projects. Candidates complete modules based upon real-life, workplace situations and develop the interpersonal skills needed to start and progress their careers. 

Modules are completed and assessed from the first term of College, so students should expect to work hard from day one of their courses.

The BTEC Level 3 Diploma is equivalent to two A Levels and is taught as a double option over two years. 

The BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (or Extended Certificate) is the equivalent to one A level and is taught as a single option over two years.  

For most courses, the Level 3 Certificate forms the first year of the Subsidiary Diploma (or Extended Certificate).  Students who decide not to continue on to the second year of the Subsidiary Diploma (or Extended Certificate) can sometimes ‘cash in’ modules and be awarded the Level 3 Certificate, which is the equivalent to one AS Level.

Some courses can only be taken as a full BTEC Level 3 Diploma or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/Extended Certificate and cannot be dropped after the first year.  Please ask at enrolment. 

A Level Equivalent
Length of Study

BTEC Level 3 Certificate

Equivalent to one AS Level

One year course (this is usually the first year of the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/Extended Certificate and is taken in the Lower Sixth)

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma/ Extended Certificate

Equivalent to one A Level

Two year course (taken in Lower and Upper Sixth)

BTEC Level 3 Diploma

Equivalent to two A Levels

Two year course (taken in Lower and Upper Sixth)

Technical Level courses

The College offers Technical Level courses in Engineering, Music Practioners (Performing) and Video Game Design & Mechanics. These are accepted by universitites and employers as A Level equivalents.  Please see individual course information for further details.   

The Intermediate Level programme

This one year programme is designed for students who do not qualify for the Advanced Level Programme but who have an average of a grade 3 over their four best subjects at GCSE.

Many students who successfully complete the Intermediate Level Programme stay on at College for a further two years before progressing to higher education or employment.

Intermediate Programme (shorter version)
The Intermediate Programme
December 2015

Two types of courses are available at Intermediate Level:

  • BTEC Level 2 Award
  • GCSEs

BTEC Level 2

BTEC Level 2 qualifications are practical, work-related courses that introduce learners to their chosen employment area and provide a good basis to go on to a more advanced work-related qualification, or directly into employment.

The BTEC Level 2 Award is equivalent to one GCSE. Students are assessed via a combination of coursework and examinations and are graded as Pass, Merit or Distinction.


The College offers GCSEs in English, Mathematics and Biology.  Students can do these GCSEs as part of either or an Intermediate or Advanced Level Programme of study. The College aims to ensure ALL students leave College with at least a grade 4 in Maths and English at GCSE.

Website by thesetupdesign.com