Further Education colleges offer two main types of qualifications
- A levels
- Vocational qualifications eg. BTEC
plus anyone who doesn’t have at least grade 4 in Maths and English will have to continue studying towards their GCSE until they pass both or finish their college course.
Like GCSEs an A level covers one subject in depth and is assessed through exams at the end of a two year course. Most people pick 3 subjects but others may only do 2, if they have to resit their Maths or English GCSE.
Each college sets its own entry requirements but generally they are looking for a minimum of five “good” GCSE passes, usually at grade 4/C or above. In addition some subjects might have their own requirement eg. a college may ask for a minimum of grade 7 in Maths for you to take A level Maths.
If you choose a vocational qualification you study a variety of topics within one area of work such as engineering, catering or childcare. Vocational qualifications are usually more hands on than A levels, with a mix of both practical and theory. They are usually assessed through a mixture of coursework and assessments/exams.
There are vocational qualifications at different levels, with level 3 being equivalent to A levels.
Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to UCAS points and are accepted by universities- but if you have a specific degree/university in mind please check before deciding whether to take vocational qualifications or A levels.
Further information on UCAS points and the application process for university can be found on the UCAS website .