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Qualifications Explained

All students in full or part-time education aged 16-18 will be expected to follow a study programme tailored to their individual needs, education and employment goals, including students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

Study programmes include:

  • Your chosen subject - at least one qualification of substantial size which offers progression either into higher levels of education or into skilled employment
  • English and Maths - all students who have not achieved a grade 4 in GCSE English and Maths will need to continue these subjects
  • Work Experience - every student will do some form of high quality work experience or internship related to their course
  • Richmond Xtra (Enrichment) - students will be involved in non-qualification activity including tutorial time, clubs and activities.


An apprenticeship is a real job with training allowing you to gain recognised qualifications. You will be employed in a job role that is relevant to your apprenticeship and also undertake training and qualifications in the workplace and at college. This will vary depending on the type of apprenticeship but typically includes:

  • Competence-based training
  • Knowledge-based qualifications
  • English, Maths and IT qualifications
  • Employment rights and responsibilities
  • Personal learning and thinking skills

We offer apprenticeships in a broad range of sectors. You can find out more about our apprenticeships and current vacancies here.

A Levels - Level 3

A Level qualifications are completed over two years. A Levels are linear qualifications - this means that they will be assessed at the end of the course (end of second year). Most A Levels are assessed through exams only however, some subjects will be assessed with up to 20% coursework (only in subjects where there is recognition that certain skills cannot be assessed in an exam). A Levels are graded A* - E.

All students will enrol on 3 linear A Levels and those students with an average GCSE points score of 6.5 and above will be able to study 4 A Levels.

Progression from 1st year A Level to 2nd year A Level

Progression will not be automatic - it will depend on several factors. You will need to have attended regularly and punctually and completed all your homework/coursework during the year. You will need to have demonstrated that you are serious about your studies and you will need to have obtained an appropriate grade in the end of year exams.

Vocational/technical qualifications - Level 3

(These can include BTECs, UAL, CACHE and City and Guilds Diplomas)

These courses are an excellent choice if you are sure of your career plans and prefer a more practical approach to studying. They are geared towards particular career paths and attract the same UCAS points as traditional A Levels.

These courses allow you to research, investigate and present your findings. The method of assessment is via internally assessed portfolios which could consist of reports, practical observations, drawings and production of objects. The method of assessment will reflect the subject being assessed.

Progression from 1st year to 2nd year

This will depend on your performance throughout the year. You will need to be up to date with all your coursework, attended your classes regularly and punctually and demonstrated that you are serious about your studies. You will also be required to have successfully achieved Maths and English qualifications at an appropriate level.

Towards the end of the first year you will have your progress reviewed - generally, you will be required to achieve an overall Merit grade to proceed and have at least passed all your units.

Vocational/technical qualifications - Levels 1 and 2 

(These can include BTECs, UAL, CACHE and City and Guilds Diplomas)

If you have not achieved 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 there are several levels of vocational courses available to you, depending on the grades you have achieved. These one year courses are geared more towards a specific area of employment. They rely heavily on coursework and assignments, which will be set regularly throughout the year.

Progression to the next level

All vocational courses are designed for progression. You will need to have attended regularly and punctually and completed all your homework and coursework during the year and successfully achieved Maths and English qualifications at an appropriate level.

If you meet college criteria you can progress from a Level 1 to a Level 2 and then on to a Level 3 course. At this stage, you may gain entry to university for a degree, foundation degree or HND course, or go into employment. Many of our students have followed this route, arriving at college with disappointing GCSE results but successfully completing all levels through to university entry.

Entry Level and Supported Learning Courses

These courses are designed to give you the confidence and practical skills for work - or to move on to a higher level course in college. Entry Level students will also study the Functional Skills qualification in numeracy and literacy.

English and Maths

RuTC recognises that qualifications and skills in English and Maths are highly valued by employers, which make them a necessity for your future prospects. We actively support students who have not yet achieved a grade 4 in GCSE English and Maths with scheduled classes of a suitable level. Prior to starting your course, we will give you an initial assessment to evaluate your current skills so that we can give you the best support for your capabilities. After this assessment you will either be enrolled on to a GCSE or a Functional Skills programme.

Your tutors will be available to help you every step of the way. Regardless of which course you are enrolled on or what career you have in mind it is important that you can demonstrate good levels of English and Maths. RuTC is dedicated to this cause and will continue to support your success in achieving these crucial qualifications.

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