Glossary

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Word or phrase

Definition

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A level

An A level is an Advanced General Certificate of Education (GCE) - More...

 

You can do A levels at sixth form or college after you have completed your GCSEs. They are academic qualifications and are usually studied as a route to higher education at a university.
A levels are made up of four or six units. The two or three units taken in the first year are slightly easier than the remaining units taken in the second year. The first year is the AS level and the second year is known as A2 — together, they are called an A level.
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Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training to at least level 3. - More...

 

They usually include a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), a technical certificate — which provides specialist occupational knowledge — and Key Skills, like working as part of a team, problem solving and IT. Apprenticeships are for 16- to 24- year olds who want to earn while they learn.
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Applied GCSE

Applied General Certificate in Secondary Education - More...

 

In September 2002 eight GCSEs in vocational subjects were introduced. These related o work in particular vocation areas and were designed to enable students to gain insight into the world of work. The subjects are Applied Art and Design, Applied Business, Applied ICT, Applied Science, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Leisure and Tourism and Manufacturing.

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training to at least level 2. - More...

 

They usually include a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), a technical certificate — which provides specialist occupational knowledge — and Key Skills, like working as part of a team, problem solving and IT. Apprenticeships are for 16- to 24- year olds who want to earn while they learn.


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AS level

An AS level is an Advanced Subsidiary General Certificate of Education (GCE) - More...

 

AS levels are equivalent to half an A level. They are academic qualifications and usually take one year to complete. An AS level is a stand-alone qualification but is actually the first year of an A level too.


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BTEC First Diploma

BTEC Firsts Diplomas are level 2 vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) - More...

 

They are available in a range of subjects, such as construction and business. They usually take one year to complete as a full-time learning programme. A BTEC First Diploma has six units. You can study them in Years 10 and 11 — Key Stage 4 or after Year 11 — post-16. There is no upper age limit.

BTEC National Diploma

BTEC National Diplomas are level 3 vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) - More...

 

They are available in a range of subjects, such as engineering and graphic design. They are made up of 18 units and usually take two years to complete as part of a full-time learning programme. You can study a BTEC National Diploma after Year 11 — post-16. There is no upper age.

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Degree

Degrees are available in a vast range of subjects at many colleges, institutes of higher education, universities and colleges of further education. - More...

 

Degrees usually take three or four years of full-time study but can often also be studied part-time. Honours degrees are graded as 1st, 2:1, 2:2 and 3rd. Normal degrees are either pass or fail.

Diploma

Diplomas are new qualifications, designed by employers, which combine general education and applied work-related learning for young people between 14 and 19. - More...

 

Diplomas are offered at three levels:

  1. Foundation Level - equivalent to four to five GCSEs at grades D to G
  2. Higher Level - equivalent to five to seven GCSEs at grades A* to C, and
  3. Advanced Level - equivalent to three or three and a half A levels.

A Progression Diploma equivalent to two A levels will also be available.

The Diplomas are going to be introduced gradually in 17 different subjects.


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Elp4u

Elp4u is a web-based portfolio and Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for students in Years 9 to 11.

 
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FE

Further Education - More...

 

It is the type of learning or training that takes place after the age of 16, but before degree level. It can be full or part time, academic or vocational.

Foundation degree

These were introduced in 2001 and are available in a range of vocational (work-related) subject areas. - More...

 

They were designed to be studied part-time while working, but they can also be studied full-time.

Foundation Learning

Foundation Learning has been created to help you to progress to level 2 - GCSE grades A* to C or equivalent - and into employment. - More...

 

This programme may be suitable for you if you are working at entry level or level 1. It will allow you to work at your own pace to get the skills and qualifications you need to succeed. Through Foundation Learning, you can get Awards, Certificates and Diplomas. You will study a specific subject or job, personal and social development and functional skills — English, IT and maths.


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Functional Skills

The practical English, maths and ICT skills that you need to deal with everyday situations at home, at college, at work, or out and about. - More...

 

They are a new set of qualifications launching nationally in 2010.

These are the skills that help you make sense of the world around you, whether you`re doing the shopping, applying for a job, managing your money, or doing an Apprenticeship in plumbing.

Functional skills qualifications aim to teach you the essentials of English, maths and ICT and will be taught in Key Stages 3 and 4. Each subject will be assessed separately to make sure you`ve got the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.

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GCSE

General Certificate of Secondary Education - More...

 

GCSEs are highly valued by schools, colleges and employers, so will be useful whatever you are planning to do afterwards. The qualification mainly involves studying the theory of a subject, combined with some investigative work. Some subjects also involve practical work.

GCSEs are at levels 1 and 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, depending on the grade you get.  They are available in more than 40 academic and nine `applied` subjects. The applied subjects are related to a broad area of work, such as engineering or tourism, and many are double the size of traditional GCSEs.

You can also take many GCSEs as short courses. These are equivalent to half a full GCSE, so can be taken in half the time. However, if you learn more slowly than others, you can spread a short course out over the same length as a traditional GCSE. 


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HE

Higher Education - More...

 

It is the type of learning that generally takes place after the age of 18. It is of a higher academic standard than A-level or National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3. It includes degree courses, postgraduate courses, and Higher National Diplomas. Higher education normally takes place in universities, higher education colleges, and in some further education colleges.

HNC

Higher National Certificate - More...

 

HNCs are similar to HNDs but at a slightly lower level. You can study them part-time alongside full-time employment.
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HND

Higher National Diploma - More...

 

HNDs are higher education qualifications available in a wide range of subjects (mainly vocational areas) at many institutes of higher education, universities and colleges of further education. Entry requirements are generally lower than those needed for degrees. They usually take two or three years of study.
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Impartial

Not biased

 

Independent school

These are schools which set their own curriculum and admissions policies. They are funded by fees paid by parents and income from investments

 
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Key skills

Key skills are the skills that are commonly needed for success in a range of activities in education, training and work and life in general. - More...

 

Key skills can be awarded at level 1 through to level 4. They are Application of Number, Communication, Improving Own Learning and Performance, Information and Communication Technology, Problem Solving and Working with Others.

Key stage 4

Years 10 and 11

 
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Level

The standard of a qualification. - More...

 

Different types of qualifications are grouped together into levels. This can help you see how different qualifications compare and how one type can lead on to another.
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NVQ

National Vocational Qualification - More...

 

NVQs relate to the world of work and are usually taken at work or while in training. They are set by industry and business and are recognised nationally by employers. There are five levels of NVQ. Most young people begin at level 1, 2 or 3.
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Post-16

After Year 11

 

Prospectus

Course and provider information

 

Provider

School, sixth form, college or training provider

 
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Qualification group

Qualifications on Routes Ahead are grouped into five types - Apprenticeship, Foundation Learning, Diploma, General and Vocational - More...

 

1. Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships offer a practical balance between learning skills and earning a living. You will do a mix of qualifications to make up an Apprenticeship programme, such as an NVQ or BTEC, Functional Skills and a Technical Certificate.

2. Foundation Learning
Foundation Learning programmes are made up of Entry level and level 1 qualifications to help you to progress to level 2 - GCSE grades A* to C or equivalent - and into employment

3. Diploma
Diplomas are a new qualification for 14 to 19 year olds and offer a mix of classroom learning and hands-on experience - all designed to prepare you for wherever you want to go in life. You can study to do an Advanced Diploma at level 3, a Progression Diploma at level 3, a Higher Diploma at level 2 or a Foundation Diploma at level 1.

4. General
General qualifications include GCSEs, AS and A levels and International Baccalaureates.

5. Vocational
These are work-related qualifications and are available at all levels. You can do vocational qualifications in lots of different subjects ranging from ICT and business to sport and media. Vocational qualifications include NVQs, BTECs and so on.

 

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Routes Ahead

A website for all 14-to 19-year-olds. - More...

 

It gives you information about all learning options in Years 10 and 11, and also what you can go on to after Year 11. It has a lot of information about education and training courses including entry requirements, what you will study on the course, assessment methods, and what the course can lead to.

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Skills for life

Cover language, literacy and numeracy skills from entry level up to level 2.

 

Special schools

Schools for students with learning difficulties or disabilities.

 
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Vocational courses

Vocational courses are work-related, this means the course relates to a specific area of employment or industry sector - More...

 

They tend to be practical and skills-focused, and many include work-related projects or work experience. Assessment of vocational courses is on a continuous basis and students are required to complete practical tasks and assignments throughout the year.

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Young apprenticeship

Give you an opportunity to gain workplace experience - up to 2 days a week. At the same time you will study for a related qualification.