Course Progression Routes

course progression weathercock

Whether you are starting from 16 just after leaving school, coming back to education after a career break or half way through your desired educational path, here at Oxford College we can help you progress. This progression can be through different courses to obtain the required qualifications, or it can be simply getting you on the right course which will give you the most opportunities for your skill set.

The qualifications you can study with us are IGCSEs, A Levels, BTEC HNDs and Diplomas, ranging from the most traditional of subjects to more modern ones. All our qualifications are regulated and appear within the National Qualification Framework.

On the government’s website (under education) there is a good explanation of all the certified qualifications in the UK and what the levels represent. (Find out more here.)

Here is where our qualifications sit in the National Qualification Framework and what the natural academic progression routes for each is…

A Levels

A Levels give you a broader option of courses if you want to go to university to study a degree. Usually 5 GCSE or IGCSE A-C grades are needed to study A Levels, however mature students are able to complete A Levels without this. To get into university a certain amount of points need to be gained, with the number of points required depending on the course and university. Some courses at university need specific sets of A Levels to go on to study them, while other degrees are not always so exacting.

If you have a career in mind or a course you’d like to do at university it’s a good idea to check out what the course requirements are before choosing your A Levels. If you change your mind half way through your 2nd year of A Level study and you find you need another subject, don’t panic we offer Fast Track A Levels which can be completed in 1 year. Three A Levels are traditionally studied but up to 5 can be taken.


Diplomas and BTEC HNDs offer a more specific study opportunity, which provide you with specific skillsets and qualifications that can make you uniquely suited to subjects or jobs in that field after qualifying.

1. Level 1 Diplomas are an introductory course and are equivalent to GCSE standard. If you have no training in any specific area you may want to start here. If on the other hand you have completed GCSEs in the past you may want to start with a Level 3 Diploma even if you haven’t studied this subject before.

2. A Level 2 Diploma is the equivalent learning standard to a GCSE grade A* – C. Once a Level 2 Diploma has been achieved you are able to move onto AS Levels, A Levels or a Level 3 Diploma.

3. Level 3 Diploma is the equivalent to AS Levels (half A Levels) on the National Qualification Framework. On completion of a Level 3 you will be able to carry onto a Level 4 or full A Levels.

4. Level 4 Diplomas are the equivalent to a full A Level. They can be completed after a Level 3 Diploma, AS Levels or even after A Levels if a change of subject direction is desired. After successful completion of a Level 4 you can continue onto a Level 5 Diploma or a BTEC HND.

5. Level 5 Diploma is the equivalent to a foundation degree. After successfully completing a Level 5 Diploma (BTEC HND), which usually takes 2 years, you will be able to apply for university degree courses. In some cases depending on the course and grade you may even be able to join a degree course at year 2. We offer many Level 5 diplomas in the health sector and animal care as well as Level 5 BTEC HNDs in business subjects – see our course page for the choices we have on offer.

Advancing into Work

Furthering your education is obviously often about changing career or progressing in your chosen field. After obtaining IGCSEs or a Level 1 Diploma you can apply for an apprenticeship. If levels 2, 3 or 4 diplomas have been attached you are able to apply for trainee positions and Advantaged or Higher apprenticeships. Level 5 Diplomas and BTEC HNDs allow you to apply to university on an undergraduate degree course.