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Further Education Courses in the UK

UK further education qualifications are respected by employers and academics worldwide. Students from the age of 16 go for Further education. Further education consists of:
  • Academic courses:
  • Develops analytical and critical thinking skills. They prepare students for higher education at a university or college.
  • Career-based vocational and professional courses:  Provides skills, knowledge, training and qualification of a particular sector or career.

Further Education Qualifications

Academic Options

  • A levels – Three subjects or more, are studied at the same time over a period of two years. For A levels, you need to have five GCSEs at grades A to C or grade B in the specific subjects you want to study.
  • International Baccalaureate – IB is an internationally recognised academic programme taught in 143 countries. It consists of IB diploma program and IB Career-related Certificate and is for students aged 16-19.
  • Cambridge Pre-U – Are equivalent to A levels. There are 26 ‘Principal Subject areas’ in which it can be taken. Each is a two-year course with exams at the end – either resulting in a Certificate or a Diploma.

Vocational Options

  • NVQs – NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. It provides you with skills to do a specific job. It includes work-related tasks.
  • BTECs – BTECs is a specialist work-related qualification, designed for people interested in a particular sector or industry. It imparts a broader knowledge of a particular industry or sector.
  • Cambridge Technicals – It provides an understanding of the subject that fits with the needs of the workplace.

Further Education Courses: Institutions

You can study further education courses at a variety of institutions, including:

  • Schools: Many schools offer further education qualifications such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Scottish Highers and vocational qualifications such as NVQs and SVQs.
  • Sixth form colleges: Sixth form colleges are for students of the age group 16–18 and specialise in academic courses to prepare students for higher education at a University or College.
  • Further and higher education colleges:  Vocational and academic courses of study are taught at these colleges at several levels. Some colleges specialize in particular industry areas such as art and design, technology or finance.
  • Private training providers:  Private training companies work with colleges and employers to provide practical training and internationally-recognized qualifications in subjects such as engineering, construction, Information and Communication Technology and health and social care.
  • Universities: Some Universities also offer a range of further education courses.
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