GCSE, functional skills and progress to advanced


Universities have recently raised their GCSE entry requirements and students with good grades at A-level or level 3 vocational have been unable to study the degree they want because of low grades in GCSE English language or mathematics.

This is one reason why we support students to achieve these qualifications during their time at college. Most degree subjects require a minimum of a grade C in GCSE English and mathematics, or a recognised alternative qualification, with some requiring higher.

Students are able to study mathematics and English language at GCSE level and functional skills at levels 1 and 2 alongside their full-time course as a re-sit.

GCSE science and the progress to advanced course are also available for students aiming for university (progression to a number of degrees such as primary school teaching, nursing and midwifery usually require a GCSE in science).

The progress to advanced course offers you a unique opportunity to study GCSEs in order to develop your skills and knowledge. This programme is suited to those students that have already attained three GCSEs at grades A* - C and wish to add to these in order to progress onto a relevant advanced programme, eg A-levels or a level 3 BTEC extended diploma.

Where will this qualification take me?

Students resitting their GCSE mathematics or English as part of a full-time programme will benefit from the opportunity to improve their grades in these areas.

Both employers and universities have placed great importance on numeracy and literacy. Most degrees at university have GCSE requirements, including grade C in maths and English (some courses require a minimum grade B or higher). You will be assessed before the start of college to establish whether you are suited to studying GCSE or functional skills.

For some students hoping to progress to degrees in areas such as health, sport or teaching, GCSE science may also be a subject to focus on. Information about this option is not provided in this prospectus, but will be provided at interview and enrolment.

There is also the option for suitable applicants to participate in a one-year GCSE-based course called progress to advanced. The course is designed to offer a selection of GCSE subjects to a small number of students who demonstrate the potential to move to an advanced level course, such as A-levels or a level 3 BTEC programme, via the GCSE route. You would need to have two more relevant GCSE subjects at grade C or higher to join progress to advanced. The course is also tailored to meet the needs of students of college age who have recently arrived in the country and require GCSEs before moving to an advanced level course.

More information about our GCSE options is available at interview, enrolment and from the advice and recruitment team.