At Buckinghamshire College Group, we understand that there are many different course options available to you, so we want to help make it simple! Whether you’ve just left school, taken a break from learning and now want to gain qualifications for the world of work, or are looking to progress on to a foundation degree or go to university, we can help you find the right course and level for you.

Our Levels below group qualifications together to provide a consistent way of showing each level of achievement. For example, an Extended BTEC Diploma is the equivalent of 3 A-Levels.

At Buckinghamshire College Group, we offer courses of all levels, for all abilities. Our levels range from 1-5, but don’t worry, if you don’t have a Level 1 qualification we can still help. We also offer pre-entry and entry level courses, and on completion of these you can go on to study at Level 1.


There are a range of different qualification types; this is the qualification you receive on completion of your course. These are set to a National Standard to ensure that different qualifications at the same level expect a similar standard of work. Many of you may already have GCSEs, so by gaining more qualifications, you open up a world of opportunities for your future career path!

Please see the table below which details what each level is and where it can take you.

Entry level

One year course that will give you the chance of progressing to a higher level qualification on completion.

What do you need?

No formal qualifications are required for entry level courses. Entry level qualification:

Certificate of Achievement

Level 1

Courses are specifically designed to give you a detailed understanding of a particular subject and usually studied for one year. They are perfect for entering a specialist area without any previous experience and also give you the chance to develop your literacy and numeracy skills.

What do you need?

Mainly D to G grades in your GCSEs or to have completed an Entry Level course.

Level 1 qualifications: BTEC Introductory Certificate, Award & Diploma, NVQ/VRQ 1

Level 2

Full-year courses designed to prepare you for an advanced level of study or employment.

What do you need?

At least four GCSEs at grade D or a level 3 in English and maths (new GCSE grades from August 2017) (136 points) or to have completed a Level 1 course.

Level 2 qualifications: GCSEs, BTEC Certificate, Extended Certificate & Diploma, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) / Vocationally-Related Qualification (VRQ) 2.

Level 3

Advanced programmes of study that usually last for two years. They will help you prepare for progression to higher education at university, a higher Apprenticeship or employment at a professional level.

What do you need?

At least five GCSEs at grade C or above or a level 4 in English and maths (new GCSE grades from August 2017) (200 points) or have completed a Level 2 qualification.

Level 3 qualifications: BTEC Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma/Diploma/Extended Diploma, NVQ/VRQ 3, Access to Higher Education Courses, A-levels.

Levels 4 & 5

Progression to Higher Education at HRC or university.

What do you need?

A full Level 3 qualification. Foundation Degrees require 120 UCAS points and Extended Degrees require 120 UCAS points.

Level 4 & 5 qualifications: Foundation Degree, NVQ 4/5.

Entry requirements

Most of our courses have entry requirements. These are the normal requirements for you to be considered for the course. This varies depending on the level and type of qualification you want to study. You will be able to discuss the level that is right for you at our open days and at your interview.

GCSE Points

Ofqual has changed GCSE results to be graded 9 to 1 rather than A* to G. This change will take effect from August 2017 for English and maths and for all other new GCSEs when grades were first awarded in 2018 and 2019. Grade 9 will be the equivalent of a new grade for high performing students above the current A*. A 'good pass' is considered to be a grade 5 and above, which equates to the top of a grade C and above. The aim of the new grading system is to show greater differentiation between higher and lower achieving students.

For those that require GCSE Points, we can offer you a conditional place based on your predicted grades if you haven’t yet taken your exams. This means that your offer will stand providing you achieve the minimum entry requirements of your chosen course. Rest assured, we can still help if you don’t quite achieve the grades you were hoping for by accommodating you on a course that might be better suited to you.

The table below details a breakdown of GCSE Points.

GCSE Grade Full Award Points Double Award Points Short Course Points
Grade A* 58 116 29
Grade A 52 104 26
Grade B 46 92 23
Grade C 40 80 20
Grade D 34 68 17
Grade E 28 56 14
Grade F 22 44 11
Grade G 16 32 8

What if I don’t have GCSE qualifications but have previous work experience or other qualifications?

You can still apply if you are a mature student and have work experience in the area you wish to study or other qualifications – these may gain you additional credit and will be considered in your application to our courses.

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