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Qualifications Explained

Advanced Level (Level 3)

For students who obtain five GCSEs at grades A to C or equivalent qualifications. On completion of a Level 3 programme, you can move on to university, jobs or training schemes.

Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Levels

A Levels are a two year programme of academic study. The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level lasts one year and is a single award. The standard is between GCSE and A Level, is worth 50% of the Advanced Level and is a qualification in its own right. You normally take four AS Levels.

Advanced (A2) Levels

A2 courses follow on from AS courses and last a further year, after which you gain the full A Level award. You normally take three A2 Levels or sometimes four. If you are planning on going to university you will need at least three full A Levels, sometimes in specific subjects.

Applied AS and A Levels

These courses have an AS/A2 structure and are comparable to the existing Advanced Levels. They provide a broad introduction to a vocational area and encourage work-related contexts. You can take up to two Applied AS Levels in each year and can combine these with other A Level subjects.

Level 3 BTEC Extended Diplomas

Formerly known as National Diplomas, these practical courses will make up the majority of your college timetable and are designed to focus on a particular subject area for progression into work or Higher Education. Assessment is based on assignments rather than written exams.

Level 3 BTEC Diplomas

Formerly known as National Certificates,these vocational courses are equivalent to two A Levels and focus on a specific area of work. They are designed to provide specialist work-related qualifications in a number of areas and are linked to national occupational standards.

Level 3 CACHE Diploma

This is a Childcare and Education qualification awarded by CACHE at Level 3. It focuses on vocational experience and is backed up by classroom teaching. For entry to Higher Education, this course is equivalent to three A Levels and is gained through a combination of College-based study and work placement.


NVQs relate to particular jobs and show the skills you’ve gained. We offer a full-time course at Level 3 in Football Coaching.



Important note

From September 2010 all BTEC qualifications have moved to the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). This means that some course titles will change but the equivalences remain the same.


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