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Qualifications for 14–19-year-olds

In Lewisham, young people have the option to take a range of qualifications. Here's a quick overview of the different qualifications on offer.  

New A-levels were introduced in September 2015 and the first results for the new A-levels will be in the summer of 2017. A-level assessment will be mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills. A-levels will be assessed at the end of the course and typically take place after two years of study.

The A level family includes:

  • GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and A levels

  • Applied A levels

  • Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in Mathematics.

Available in over 40 subjects, Edexcel A levels give learners the chance to develop intellectually as they explore a subject in greater depth.

BTEC Firsts offer level 2 learners an engaging introduction to life and work in a vocational sector. Learners develop knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context. Taken as part of a balanced curriculum, BTEC Firsts provide a tried-and-trusted progression route to further study, to an apprenticeship or into employment.
The majority of BTEC First students are likely to be in the 14–19 age group, although BTEC Firsts are suitable for learners of any age needing an engaging introduction to life and work in a vocational sector.

BTEC Nationals provide specialist, work-related learning across a range of sectors. Delivering the knowledge, skills and understanding students need to prepare for their chosen career, BTEC Nationals offer progression to higher or further education or into employment. Alongside A-levels, BTECs are the most widely recognised qualification for admission to higher education (HE).

BTEC Higher Nationals are higher education (HE)qualifications at level 4 and 5 that are equivalent to the first and second years of a university degree. They provide specialist work-related learning, reflecting the requirements of employers and professional organisations, meeting the National Occupational Standards for each sector or industry.

Available in over 40 subjects, BTEC Higher Nationals are delivered at both universities and colleges, and are an ideal choice for learners seeking a cost-effective and relevant route to higher education or employment.

Functional Skills are qualifications in English, maths and ICT that equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully. They are available in England at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2. Suitable for learners of all ages, they’re also a mandatory part of all Apprenticeship frameworks in England.

GCSEs (General Certificates of Secondary Education) are the main qualifications taken by students at school-leaving age in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Edexcel GCSEs are available in over 40 subjects.

This consists of four elements which together demonstrate that students have achieved success in terms of A-levels and wider learning and enrichment activities. Breadth of study is achieved through AS General Studies, Critical Thinking or Citizenship. Students demonstrate independent learning through the completion of an extended project.

These are work-related, competence-based qualifications. They are available at level 3 (advanced), level 2 (intermediate) and level 1 (introductory) in a wide range of occupational areas such as business administration, hairdressing, catering, motor vehicle repair and construction. Assessment is often through on-the-job observation and questioning.


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