A Levels

Students getting their exam resultsA and AS levels - GCE Advanced Level and Advanced Subsidiary

A levels are offered by...

 ...school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and some some further education colleges. They can also be studied through distance learning and:

  • are usually studied over two years
  • need a minimum of five or six GCSEs at grade 9 to 5, A* to C or equivalent, usually including English or maths to start a course
  • some subjects, such as languages and sciences, may need previous study at GCSE level
  • are offered in over 40 subjects.
  • are also available as vocational/applied A level and AS level subjects in for example, art and design, business, health and social care, and science. They are graded in the same way.
  • A levels are graded A* to E (they were previously graded A to E).
  • AS levels will continue to be graded A to E.

Changes to AS and A levels in England:

Full details of the changes are explained on the GOV.UK website, including the timetable for each subject, they include:

  • A levels are fully linear, meaning all assessment/exams will be taken at the end of the course
  • AS levels are offered as separate qualifications - no longer part of an A level qualification. This means that the AS results will NOT count towards a full A level qualification
  • By 2017 all AS and A level courses changed to the new style
  • Biology, chemistry and physics practicals now include at least 12 practicals, for which an overall pass or fail will be awarded in the final A level grade, in addition to the overall A level grade achieved.
  • There are different assessment/criteria for AS and A levels in Wales and Northern Ireland

For more information about A levels and other qualifications look on GOV.UK

New T levels

T levels’ are new technical study programmes taught full-time, that will sit alongside apprenticeships and aimed at ensuring vocational qualifications are considered equal to A levels. They will be offered across 15 sectors:

  • Agriculture, environmental and animal care
  • Business and administrative
  • Catering and hospitality
  • Childcare and education
  • Construction
  • Creative and design
  • Digital
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Hair and beauty
  • Health and science
  • Legal, finance and accounting
  • Protective services
  • Sales, marketing and procurement
  • Social care
  • Transport and logistics

T levels will be available to study from September 2020, some will launch between September 2021 and September 2022. A few 'pathfinder' T levels may be offered in some areas from 2019. It means that at 16 young people will be presented with two choices: the academic or the technical option. The technical option will prepare individuals for skilled employment that requires technical knowledge and practical skills valued by industry. It will be offered as two routes to skilled employment - T levels or apprenticeships.

Time table for T level introduction announced March 2018:

Autumn 2020 - first T level programmes start for specific occupations in 3 industries:
 - software application development (digital industry)
 - building services engineering (construction industry)
 - education (education and childcare industry)
Autumn 2021 - full range of T level programmes start for the following industries:
 - digital
 - construction
 - education and childcare
 - engineering and manufacturing
 - health and science
 - legal, finance and accounting
Autumn 2022 - full range of T level programmes begin for the following industries:
 - hair and beauty
 - agriculture, environment and animal care
 - business and administration
 - catering and hospitality
 - creative and design

The T level study programme will generally be over two years and will include a new technical qualification that may be taught in a classroom, workshop or simulated work environment. The programme will include a work placement of up to three months as well as English, maths and digital content.

T levels are designed to train young people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to enter skilled employment in a particular occupational area. The content of the T level will be based on the same occupational standards, used for the apprenticeship route, with content defined by employers and others. T levels will generally be taken by 16 to 19 year olds, but will take account of the needs of adult learners. T levels are for students who want to develop work-related knowledge and skills, but are not yet clear about the specific occupation they want to work in. They are for students who want to get the specialist knowledge and skills they need to progress to employment in a highly skilled occupation, including higher degree apprenticeships.

Individuals will be assessed at the end of the programme to test and certify their skills. Students who pass all parts of the programme will be awarded a T level certificate.

Look on GOV.UK for more information on the reforms to GCSEs and A levels, and additional information for T levels


Page updated November 2017

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