• Choosing the right course / programme of study

    Staying on in full time education after you leave year 11 can be a daunting prospect – the choice you have is huge.

    So, we want you to have as much information as possible to help you make that choice, and to reassure you that coming to college is a real alternative to school, and can act as a stepping stone into the same careers or Higher Education courses as studying A Levels in Sixth Form.

Your Choices


Under Government guidelines, you must now stay in education or training until the age of 18.


This means that you have three options to choose from when you finish Year 11, as you enter a stage known as post-16 education or Key Stage 5:


  • Go to college to study a full-time academic or vocational programme
  • Stay at school (if they have a sixth form)
  • Start a training programme in the form of an apprenticeship or traineeship

Whilst many of our students come straight from year 11 with a range of GCSEs, there are many students who make a real success of their time at the College who haven’t come via this ‘traditional’ route. You may have:


  • come from a school that does not offer GCSEs
  • not done as well as you know you could because you felt that school wasn’t ‘right’ for you
  • been ill or had difficult situations

Don’t worry. If you think you haven’t got the entry requirements for our courses – come and talk to us, we have great progression courses that will help you to a bright future.


What can I study at post-16?


There are many different qualifications so it can get a bit confusing. At Bath College you get the chance to continue with subjects you studied at school or take up something new. We have courses at all levels. It’s important that you find the level that is the right starting point for you, then work your way up.


The diagram below shows the routes available to you and you can find out more about each type of qualification here.



What else do I need to know?


From  September  2016, new GCSEs will be graded differently. They will no longer be A*-G, but will now be graded 9-1 (9 being the highest grade).


The table below shows how the two grading systems compare. Please note that the old grade ‘C’ is now a grade ‘4’. The new grade 5 is the equivalent of a strong grade C pass.



The other change is that GCSEs are now ‘linear’, which means the exams you sit at the end of Year 11, in most subjects will dictate your overall grade.

There are three phases to the changes. In August 2017 you’ll receive numbers for English and Maths. All GCSEs will be graded with numbers in August 2019


Students no longer study a qualification at post-16 level, as a student you will undertake a programme of study.


A study programme is designed to meet your individual needs and provides you with the knowledge and skills required for employment or further study. Each study programme is made up of the following:


  • Academic, vocational or technical qualification
  • Work experience and/or employability skills
  • Personal and social development
  • English and/or maths development (if required – see below)

It is extremely important that young people have a strong understanding of both maths and English. Both employers and universities look at these as fundamental skills required to operate effectively in the 21st century.


Therefore, if you have not achieved a grade C/grade 4 in English and/or maths, you will continue to study these when you enter post-16 education. If this applies to you, this will form part of your timetable, where you will either be re-entered to re-sit your GCSE in that subject or study Functional Skills, until you are ready to re-sit your GCSE in that subject.


You need only pass one English subject at grade C/4 or above to be exempt from studying English post-16. However, some careers and degree programmes look for a GCSE at grade C/4 in English Language as a prerequisite e.g. the Childcare and Early Years sector.


At Bath College, the following applies in regards to English and maths:


If you have a D/3 you will work towards retaking your GCSE, studying 3 hours per week for each subject.


If your grade in either subject is lower than a D/3, you will sit a key skills assessment to determine which level of Functional Skills you will study. Following successful progress through the Functional Skills levels (1.5 hours per week for each subject), you will be entered to re-sit your GCSE.



Where could college take you?

Find out where a course at Bath College could take you next.


Further Advice


If you are still confused about what is the right path for you contact our Student Advice Centre.

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