What are the advantages?
Vocational courses are nationally recognised and accepted by employers and higher education. They encourage you to take a measure of responsibility for your own learning and to practise and be assessed in skills such as problem solving, information gathering, communication and information technology.
A practical approach to study
Diplomas offer you a practical approach that can be lacking in more traditional routes, by applying learning to real-life situations. Students have to undertake a number of units for which they present evidence, based on actual work and studies. This allows you to demonstrate your skill and knowledge.
When studying Diplomas, progress is measured throughout the course, allowing you to gauge your own performance on a continuing basis, just like in a real workplace. For many students the ongoing assessment provided by the Diploma route could be a better option than exam-based subjects.
In preparation for studying Diplomas you will be expected to complete the transition activities, which can be found on our website, before you start the course.
Students enjoy Diploma programmes because they can specialise in areas of learning linked with work that they are interested in, like art, business, music or sport. Students build their confidence because they are developing skills that will help them secure a job or place in higher education in the future.
Assignments may be in written form, but it is just as likely they will be in other formats, eg film clips, project proposals, business plans and structured databases. Students are always given clear guidelines to they know what they have to achieve and how to do this.
Some courses involve a period of work experience.
Access to higher education
Many of our Diploma students are now studying at Russell Group and other prestigious universities.
You should research carefully the entry requirements of university courses you may wish to study.
Level 3 Diplomas
The Extended Diploma is a two-year course at Level 3, which is the equivalent of 3 A Levels and which can gain you entry to degree level study. Extended Diplomas are not usually combined with AS/A2 Levels.
In the Diploma subjects listed below during your first year you will complete the 90-Credit Diploma which is equivalent to 3 AS Levels. If you then complete the second year of the course you will achieve the Extended Diploma which is equivalent to 3 A Levels. This opens up the option of studying a variety of degrees at some excellent universities.
- Art and Design
- Creative and Media
- Information Technology
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Performing Arts
- Social Studies
- Sport and Exercise Sciences
- Travel and Tourism
To gain entry to this programme you will need at least 36 GCSE points, which must include at least 4 Grade Cs in appropriate subjects, or a Level 2 Diploma at Merit or Distinction Level.
Level 2 Diplomas
The Level 2 Diploma is a one-year course which can give students the confidence and skills to progress to a Level 3 Diploma, or enter full-time employment.
To gain entry to this programme you will need at least 24 GCSE points, which should include at least 3 Grade Ds.
Students may have the opportunity to improve their grades in GCSE English and/or Mathematics.
- Art and Design Extended Diploma
- Art and Design Foundation Diploma
- Business Extended Diploma
- Business and Tourism Combined First Extended Certificates
- Children's Care Learning and Development Level 2 Diploma
- Children's Care Learning and Development Extended Diploma
- Creative Media Production Extended Diploma
- Foundation Programme
- Health and Social Care Extended Diploma
- Information Technology Extended Diploma
- Information Technology Level 2 Diploma
- Manufacturing Engineering Extended Diploma
- Manufacturing Engineering Level 2 Diploma
- Music Extended Diploma
- Music (Performing) Subsidiary Diploma
- Pathways For Students with learning difficulties and disabilities
- Performing Arts Extended Diploma
- Performing Arts Level 2 Diploma
- Science (Applied) Forensic Science Extended Diploma
- Social Studies Extended Diploma in Public Service
- Social Studies Level 2 Diploma in Public Service
- Sport Extended Diploma
- Sport and Exercise Sciences Extended Diploma
- Sport and Exercise Sciences Level 2 Diploma
- Travel and Tourism Extended Diploma