Post-16 Study Options


An 'advanced level' or A-level is a qualification offered across a range of subjects. 

Key features of A-levels are:

  • You typically choose three to four subjects to take
  • Most universities A-lever entry requirements request three A-level grades
  • Exams are taken at the end of your second year
  • Grading in A-Level is  A*-G.

It is also possible to study a combination of A-levels and BTECs but that will depend on a few things, particularly what you plan to do afterwards. Although BTECs allow students to acquire practical and vocational skills, some universities and courses may have qualification preferences they look for - these requirements will be clearly stated on their website (always do you research!).

Further Education Colleges

FE colleges generally offer vocational (work related) and specialist qualifications.  They tend to provide courses for 16-18 year olds, as well as adult learners and often have close links with the community.

FE colleges offer a wide range of courses at a variety of levels. Each college is different, so you will need to check with a chosen college and what courses they offer. Most colleges, however, will offer courses that include:

  • Catering and Hospitality;
  • Travel and Tourism;
  • Health and Social Care;
  • Childcare;
  • Business Studies;
  • ICT/Computing;
  • Hair and Beauty;
  • Sport and Public Services;
  • Performing Arts;
  • Media;
  • Art;
  • Animal Care;
  • Construction;

But there are many more on offer.

The qualifications linked to these vocational areas could be: T-levels, NVQs, BTECs, HNCs, HNDs and Foundation Degrees. These qualifications (mostly NVQ and BTEC) are offered at different levels. For instance, to get onto a certain level, you need:

  • Level 1 requires 2’s at GCSE;
  • Level 2 requires four x 3’s at GCSE;
  • Level 3 requires five x 4’s at GCSE (inc English and Maths at 4+).

These can vary for each college provider.

University Technical Colleges (UTC’s)

UTC’s are academies for 14-19 year olds. They provide education that meets the needs of employers; therefore, courses centre on technical and work-related learning, combined with academic studies.

All UTC’s:

  • Are sponsored by a local university and employers;
  • Specialise in two curriculum areas;
  • Teach core GCSE’s alongside technical qualifications;
  • Focus on sectors that require highly specialised equipment;
  • Develop young people Business, ICT and Design skills to prepare young people for a range of careers and continuing education at age 19.

Links to our local colleges 

Remember, always do your research! Take a look at what our local colleges offer and the requirements necessary to be accepted onto the courses. 

Bury College

Holy Cross College and University Centre