Courses for School Leavers
Where to start?
You can study at Entry Level, Level 1, 2 or 3 after school. The level you start at depends on your current abilities and school results. You can move your way up through the levels until you have completed Level 3, then you can progress on to higher education at college or university or find employment.
The table below gives you an overview of general entry requirements and is a guide to what you may need for the level you are looking at. Specific entry requirements for each course can be found on the course factsheets, click here to use the course search.
Some students may be asked to continue with their studies in English and Maths to get them to the level that Employers, universities and the government require. For more information see below.
If you need any help making your choice contact our College Advice Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01392 400600.
What level should I study at?
|Level 3||A Levels and BTEC Certificates|
GCSE grades: A Levels and BTEC Certificates GCSE grades: Eight GCSEs at grade 4 or above including English Language and Maths. Some courses require subject specific entry criteria. Please see individual course listings for further information.
Types of course: A Levels, BTEC Certificates.
What next? You can study a higher education course or Apprenticeship at college or university or find a job.
|Level 3||Vocational and technical full time programmes|
GCSE grades: Five grade 4s at GCSE including a grade 4 or above in English Language or a good pass with a full Level 2 qualification. For T Levels you will need six GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including English Language and Maths). Learners progressing from a Level 2 course will need a BTEC Level 2 Diploma with a good Merit profile, along with English Language and Maths GCSE at grade 4 or above (or equivalent).
Types of course: Vocational and BTEC Diploma Level 3 courses, T Levels or an Advanced Apprenticeship, UAL Diploma, NVQ, VRQ.
What next? You can study a higher education course or Apprenticeship at college or university or find a job.
|Level 3||International Baccalaureate (IB)|
GCSE grades: Eight GCSEs to include at least six at grade 6 or above as well as a grade 6 in English Language and Maths. Some courses require subject specific entry criteria.
What next? You can progress to university or even consider studying abroad once you complete the International Baccalaureate. You can also move to a higher education course or Apprenticeship here at the college.
|Level 2||GCSE grades: Three grade 3s at GCSE as well as English Language and Maths at grade 3 or above or a Level 1 qualification at merit grade.|
Types of course: BTEC Level 2, Apprenticeship, GCSE, UAL Diploma, NVQ, VRQ, GCSE Fast Track.
What next? You can move on to a vocational or BTEC Level 3 course or an Advanced Apprenticeship.
|Level 1||GCSE grades: Four grade 2s at GCSE, normally including English Language and Maths at grade 2 or above.|
Types of course: BTEC Level 1 Diploma, Prince’s Trust, NVQ.
What next? You can move on to a vocational or BTEC Level 2 course or an Apprenticeship.
|Entry Level||GCSE grades: No formal qualifications.|
Types of course: Paths 2 Independence/Progression, Vocational Studies, Positive Pathways.
What next? You can move on to a Level 1 course or NVQ.
- A Levels plus AS Levels, BTEC Certificates and Extended Certificates.
A Levels are ideal if you enjoyed your GCSEs and are ready to move up to the next level. Most students identify three subjects and an Extend option that they are interested in studying and we will offer advice and guidance at interview to ensure that you have chosen the best programme of study for you. Any A Level subject can be combined into the right programme of study. After a year at Exeter College, in the majority of A Level subjects you will receive a standalone AS Level qualification. See the full course information for details of which subjects offer an AS Level in the first year.
BTEC Certificates, Extended Certificate and Subsidiary Diplomas.
These BTEC courses are treated just like A Levels by universities (they also have points) and it can be a great option to combine one with two A Levels.
- International Baccalaureate
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an internationally recognised qualification made up of six subjects, including English, Maths, Science, a modern foreign language and an Elective which may be an Arts or Humanities subject, an ab initio language or Chemistry. You also get involved in community projects and write a research-based essay. The course is equivalent to a full A Level programme and involves exams and coursework.
- Vocational and technical full time programmes.
These can be studied at Level 1, 2 or 3. They are mainly assessed through coursework and give a balance of practical work and theory. They generally don’t involve exams, however there will be some element of external assessment at Level 2 and 3.
Level 1 and Level 2 courses take one year and you can usually progress from these on to the next level. Level 3 qualifications usually run for two years and they are equivalent to three A Levels. We offer BTEC, T Level and UAL qualifications and other vocational courses may be called NVQ or VRQ and are practical courses preparing you for the workplace. You can progress
from a Level 2 NVQ on to a Level 3 NVQ.
A BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma is studied in the first year and is equivalent to one and a half A Levels. In the second year you progress on to the Extended Diploma. The full qualification (two years) is equivalent to three A Levels. We do not usually encourage students to take an AS Level course alongside a BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma.
- T Levels
What are they?
T Levels are a brand new qualification designed to give you a head start towards the future you want. They follow GCSEs and are equivalent to three A Levels. The two year T Level qualification brings classroom and industry placement together on a course designed with employers and businesses. You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 315 hours minimum placement to give you the skills, behaviours and knowledge employers are looking for. Your T Level will help you to step straight into your chosen career, an Apprenticeship, higher technical qualification or a degree. Wherever your future is heading, take it to the nexT-Level.
Who are T Levels for?
T Levels are ideal for post-GCSE students who want to get into a skilled job. Because T Levels are being developed in collaboration with employers and
businesses, students will get the knowledge, skills and experience they need to get the job they want.
What subjects are available?
The first T Levels are in Construction, Digital and Education and Childcare and will be offered from September 2020 by selected colleges and schools.
More subjects will be offered in the years that follow.
What is different about T Levels?
T Levels have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses and will provide the skills and knowledge needed to progress to highly skilled employment, higher level study or Apprenticeship. All T Levels will include an industry placement with an employer so that students can apply their learning in a real workplace environment. Around 80% of time will be spent in the classroom with the remaining 20% being spent on placement. This differs to an Apprenticeship, which is typically 80% on-the-job and 20% in the classroom and more suited to those who feel ready to
enter the workforce at 16.
Can T Levels take you to university?
Yes, they can. T Levels will primarily prepare students to move into a skilled job but can also lead to further technical training, such as higher technical
qualifications, Higher Apprenticeships or a degree if they don’t want to move straight into work.
How do I apply?
Applications for Exeter College open in October for entry in September 2020 and we encourage Year 11 students to apply early in the academic year. This will ensure that students have their interview prior to GCSE exam time. The entry requirements for all our courses are on the
relevant pages in the guide and will be available on our
website. Visit us at the next open event to find out more
or contact our College Advice Team on 01392 400600 or
Want to earn while you learn? Apprenticeships are an exciting alternative to full time study, where you gain workplace skills and experience, as well as a qualification – all while getting paid.
As an Apprentice you will work and be treated as an employee, spending your week at your place of work with one day at the college to further develop your learning and skills. Our courses are available to anyone, aged 16 and above, looking to kick-start their career. There are now more programmes than ever, in a variety of roles and industries; from Digital Marketing and Laboratory Technician, through to Commis Chef and Engineering. On completion, you can advance onto a higher level of apprenticeship, with qualifications ranging from level 2 (GCSE Standard) up to degree level. There has never been a better time to take an apprenticeship and make your dream job a reality.
- English and Maths - essential for all...
Employers, universities and the government require all young people to have a good command and understanding of English and Maths.
We are committed to supporting you to continually improve these skills, whatever level and course you are studying. We have lots of additional support on offer to help you to develop your literacy and numeracy skills during your time at Exeter College, both inside and outside the classroom. If you have not already achieved a grade 4 in GCSE English Language and Maths you will need to continue to work towards achieving them alongside your other courses. During your first few weeks at college, we will assess your level of English and/or Maths to decide how we can help you progress and succeed.
We offer a range of functional skills and GCSE qualifications in both English and Maths and will work with you to find the best route to achieving these core qualifications whilst you are with us. If you are excited by the challenge of developing your skills in English and Maths alongside an A Level programme, you may like to stretch yourself further by choosing an Extend
in Creative Writing or taking a Level 3 Certificate in Maths. Whatever your subject, level of confidence or point of entry, we will do our very best to make sure you reach your potential in English and Maths.
Other pathways to get you started
Here at Exeter College we offer three bespoke 12 week, short courses aimed at young people, aged between 16-25 years old, that are not currently in education, employment or training. All three courses offer the opportunity to take part in positive activities with other young people, engage with the
community and work towards long term goals, such as further education courses or employment. There are no grade entry requirements and we run the courses at three different points throughout the academic year.
If you think you fall into some of the criteria below, these courses might be ideal for you;
Thinking that because school didn’t go very well or because you have not been in education for a while that you aren’t able to access a college course?
Undecided about your future options and positive progression opportunities?
Lacking confidence and in need of help to realise your potential?
- New Directions
This course is a personal development course for 16-18 year olds that is aimed at students who might find it hard to be in large groups, social situations and are lacking confidence and self-esteem. The programme begins on a one to one basis with the New Directions Tutor, where you will be set targets to work on over the 12 week period and begin working towards a project. This project will be driven by the students’ interests and will be something that can be completed in college hours, or at home.
As the course progresses one-to-one work will develop into paired work, then small group work with the other students on the course. There will be taught sessions around self-esteem, confidence and mental health and well-being, as well as team building activities to help develop confidence.
- Positive Pathways
This is a fun, engaging course, delivered two and a half days a week, for 16-18 year olds designed to help develop confidence, self-esteem and teamworking skills. You will learn alongside other young people and your group will be set a range of challenges, projects and activities designed to help you use and improve current skills and qualities, as well as develop brand new ones. You will have the opportunity to engage with and work within the community, fundraise for a chosen charity and work towards chosen targets.
- Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme
This course is for 16-25 year olds who are looking to boost their confidence, ability to work in a team and have aspirations of continuing further educational studies or gaining employment. The course runs 5 days a week over the 12 week period and students who complete all elements of the course will work towards a Level 1 Qualification in Employability, Teamwork and Community Skills. Students will have their public transport paid for the duration of the course.