Qualifications Explained

Entry Level

Entry Level qualifications are available to young people who may not have achieved GCSE passes and are not quite ready to tackle a Level 1 qualification. Entry Level gives you additional communication, numeracy and study skills to help you to progress to a Level 1 mainstream course.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)

NVQ’s are offered at all Further Education levels and relate to specific jobs, such as, Accounting, Electrical Installation or Painting and Decorating. Most NVQs involve a significant amount of work experience, where you might be at college for just three days a week and work the rest. Apprenticeships are most often NVQs or Diplomas (combining work and study).

BTEC Diplomas

There are three levels of Diploma – Foundation, Higher and Advanced, which can be studied at any age. Diplomas focus on practical learning and develop the skills that you need for your chosen subject area. Diplomas will help you to gain a good standard in English, maths and ICT skills needed for everyday life. The skills you learn will be useful for university or college and the workplace, as there is a real emphasis on learning by doing.

BTEC First and BTEC National Award/Certificate

In some areas BTEC offers First (Level 2) and National (Level 3) qualifications. Level 3 programmes provide opportunities for students to go onto Higher Education or employment.

Access to Higher Education

This is a well-established route to Higher Education for adult learners over the age of 19. There are two pathways – Humanities and Social Science and Health and Nursing. They are accredited by the Kent and Medway Open College Network.

Foundation Degrees and Higher National Diplomas/Certificates

These are our highest level courses and are equivalent to year one and two of a university education. On completion, students have the option to top-up their qualification to a full degree at university. However, both Business and Photography can be studied to Degree level at the College.

GCSE English and maths + Functional Skills

Any learner aged 16-18, or aged 19 to 25 if they have an Education and Healthcare Plan who achieved a D grade or grade 4 in English Language (and did not achieve C in English Literature) and anyone who achieved a D grade or grade 4 in maths, will be entered for GCSE in maths and/or GCSE in English and have 2 hours of study per week in each subject they need to take. This is a national Government requirement for all learners continuing in Post 16 education and will be a compulsory part of your programme of study at our college and every college and school sixth form across the UK.

Students who have achieved lower than GCSE grade D or grade 4 will study functional skills English and maths at either Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2.