Study at Cardinal Newman College, in Preston

With so many options when it comes to choosing what to study after high school, it can feel difficult to know what is the right option for your child.

Promoted by Cardinal Newman College
Friday, 30th July 2021, 8:52 am
It is important to think about your child's strengths and where their skills lie

There are huge numbers of new and exciting-sounding courses, mixed in with the more traditional subjects you may remember from your own school days, and that is before you even get into the different types of qualifications that are now on offer.

Not only are there A-Levels, but there are also BTECs – and, with the newly launched T-Level qualifications thrown into the mix, how do you know which is the right option for your child?

Firstly, it is important to think about their strengths and where their skills lie. What are their GCSEs telling you about their strengths? As they specialise more post-GCSE it’s vital that they are doing so in an area in which they are strong. Do they prefer to learn by being assessed as they progress with less emphasis on exams to assess how they are performing? Or are they someone who typically performs well in exam situations?

As they specialise more post-GCSE it's vital that they are doing so in an area in which they are strong

Next consider the subjects available and encourage your child to choose subjects that they enjoy or are interested in, if they are enjoying their studies, they will have a much greater chance of success!

So, what really is the difference between all these qualifications?

A-Levels are the more traditional qualification, typically students will study three or four A-Level subjects over the course of two years, with an exam sat at the end of this period which decides their grade. Some of the more creative A-Level subjects also have an element of coursework, but traditionally these are more exam-based subjects.

This allows students to choose a range of subjects, which is especially useful if they have a variety of interests or are unsure which field they want to progress to in the future.

Consider the subjects available and encourage your child to choose subjects that they enjoy or are interested in

BTECs on the other hand provide a more varied approach to assessment. Students complete assignments and coursework as well as exams throughout their two-year course. These assignments are designed to allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to real life case studies preparing them for careers in their chosen area. They also tend to be in subjects with more of a focus on the world of work, such as Business Studies or Travel and Tourism.

For some though, it may be possible that they would benefit from a combined approach to their studies.

At Cardinal Newman College, in Preston, students are able to choose a mixed programme, where they can study both A-Levels and BTECs alongside each other to form one whole programme of study.

With a wide range of BTECs on offer, students can choose a BTEC which is either one A-Level, two A-Level or three A-Level equivalent. If a student chooses a three A-Level equivalent BTEC, this would form the basis of their study and they would not choose anything else. If however they chose either a one or two A-Level equivalent option, they could then choose either one or two A-Levels alongside. This is an increasingly popular option, which allows students to benefit from both styles of learning and balance their workloads effectively across the two years at college.

Some of the more creative A-Level subjects also have an element of coursework, but traditionally these are more exam-based subjects

Finally, the new T-Levels allow students who are eager to get out into the world of work to gain all the relevant skills and knowledge to enter the workforce. These qualifications are designed with employers so that students are benefiting from the experience of industry and can be fully prepared to succeed in their chosen field. They include an industrial placement providing a significant period of work experience.

At Cardinal Newman College, there are a range of these T-Level qualifications available. As an early adopter of the T-Level qualification, they are now able to offer T-Levels in Digital, Health Science, Science and Education & Childcare, all housed in a brand new dedicated building.

The right programme of study

Principal Nick Burnham says: “It is really important to us that we get students onto the right programme of study for them, so that they can really achieve their full potential.

BTECs provide a more varied approach to assessment

“That is why our fabulous team are on hand throughout the summer and during enrolment to advise students on their options.

“We also offer Newman Extra at the start of term. If a student is unhappy with a subject they have chosen, they are able to try out another subject before making the commitment to switch. We find that this really helps to ensure students are enrolled onto the perfect course for them and on a pathway to succeed.”

Lastly, if your child is still unsure about what is the right option for them, talk to someone. The friendly admissions team at Cardinal Newman are always available to advise and support all students.

Find out more at www.cardinalnewman.ac.uk

At Cardinal Newman College, in Preston, students are able to choose a mixed programme, where they can study both A-Levels and BTECs alongside each other to form one whole programme of study