Qualifications explained

‘A’ level Courses:

‘A’ levels are traditional academic qualifications involving examinations and coursework. They're highly valued by universities and employers and focus on academic subjects, although some are work-related.

Level 3 Vocational Courses:

BTEC Level 3 qualifications offer students a more practical learning programme that relates directly to specific careers and areas of employment. They are equal in value to ‘A’ level courses and are widely recognised by both employers and universities. These courses enable you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in practical situations throughout the course; however, again following Government reform, all BTEC courses now attract assessment by external examination.  You could choose to study a Level 3 Extended Certificate which is a single option (worth 1 ‘A’ level) or a Level 3 Diploma (worth 2 ‘A’ levels).

Professional Courses:

You could choose to study one of our professional courses in either Motor Vehicle or Hairdressing. Both of these courses are full-time programmes and will teach you the practical skills that employers are looking for - or they may inspire you to study further in these growing and dynamic industries. The course involves practical workshop-based learning and assessments along with sessions on the theory and operation of real-life businesses. These qualifications are highly regarded by employers and prepare students extremely well for a career in their chosen vocational area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are BTEC Level 3 Diploma qualifications well established?

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are well-established with employers and universities and have been awarded for almost twenty years. BTEC Level 3 Diplomas can be studied on their own or alongside examination-based ‘A’ levels; earn the same UCAS points as ‘A’ levels; and are valued by universities as a route into a wide range of degree courses.

Do all universities accept vocational ‘A’ levels?

Universities select students based upon their best GCSE grades as well as their post-16 qualifications. For students who gain mainly C grades at GCSE, or have done extremely well at BTEC in Year 11, it will be better to choose BTEC Level 3 Diploma courses. This is because for these students a BTEC Level 3 Diploma will increase their chances of achieving the highest possible grades at sixth form which will ensure they can progress to a wide range of quality universities and careers. Grade Cs at GCSE and BTEC Level 3 Diplomas are not likely to be sufficient for entry to the top 20 UK universities (‘The Russell Group’) – although it is still possible. If you want to progress to a Russell Group university then ‘A’ levels in traditional academic subjects will be the best option for you, but it is always worth checking with individual university websites if you are interested in taking a BTEC Level 3 Diploma course.

For further details or information about Sixth Form please contact Ms Jackson regarding the ‘A’ Level offer or Mr Watson regarding the BTEC and Professional offer.  Alternatively you can request information by email:

Ms Jackson - enquiries@consettacademy.org.uk

Mr Watson – 16+@ndacademy.co.uk