If you are thinking about studying at Newbury College, but are unsure of what the different levels cover and lead to, the following guide provides an overview of each of the main qualifications on offer.
GCSEs at Newbury College are covered in one year and provide the basis on which to progress to further study at AS Level or within a vocational area. Some areas of employment also request minimum GCSE standards for certain professions. Grade C or above in English and Maths is usually required for entry to higher education.
AS / A Level
The AS and A Level courses are now two separate qualifications. Students progressing from GCSE or equivalent will gain an AS Level qualification after one year of study, and will gain the full A Level qualification after completing two years on their chosen programme. Combinations for AS and A Levels are fairly flexible and can be discussed in more detail at your initial interview.
BTEC Level 2 Diploma
This course is a one-year programme for students with grades D to E at GCSE level, looking to progress to vocational study or National Diploma.
BTEC Level 3 Award / Certificate / Diploma
The Award is a one year programme equivalent to one GCE A Level and can be studied alongside other National Awards or A Levels. Entry requirement is usually 4 GCSEs at Grade C or above.
The Certificate is a one-year programme for students who wish to progress to higher education in vocational areas. It is usually the first part of a three-year programme for students who eventually want to progress to higher education or entry level employment in their chosen area of interest.
The Diploma is equivalent to three A Level qualifications. It is usually studied as a stand-alone subject, as the volume of work makes it difficult to combine with additional subjects (e.g. A Levels).
BTEC Level 4 Foundation Diploma
Higher National Certificate (HNC)
This is a two-year vocational programme (usually studied for on a part-time basis) which enables progression to study at Higher National Diploma level.
Higher National Diploma (HND)
This is a two-year full time course which covers advanced level practical and theoretical knowledge of the chosen subject. Students who have HND qualifications can gain entry into second year of some university degree programmes. These qualifications may also be referred to as foundation degrees'.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) build competence, skills and knowledge in vocational areas. There are five levels, starting with level 1 and progressing to level 5 at the most advanced.
Apprentices are usually employed in their preferred area of work and attend College on a day release basis to gain related NVQ and Key Skills qualifications. Learners can study for a Foundation Apprenticeship initially and progress to an Advanced Apprenticeship once initial qualification aims have been achieved.
Each professional qualification tends to relate to standards set by the individual awarding body or professional organisation and are designed to enable you to progress in your chosen career.
They are often a pre-requisite for joining professional bodies and can lead to designatory letters after your name.
These are flexible courses at a higher level designed in conjuction with employers to meet demand for highly skilled people. Foundation Degrees combine seminars with on-line and workbased learning to minimise time spent away from the workplace.