The 3+1 level 3 learning programme

The 3+1 level 3 learning programme involves you studying three main subjects over two years with an additional one year qualification alongside these in the first year and opportunities to study a further one year qualification in the second year. The one year course will give you a broad programme of knowledge and options for choosing your best three main subjects in the second year.

Your programme of study will be individually tailored to suit your needs and will be made up of any combination one year AS levels, two year A levels and BTEC qualifications of different sizes. GCSE qualifications may also be taken alongside.

Students who achieve at least 5 GCSEs at A*-C grade or grade 4 or above will qualify for studying on a level 3 learning programme. Equivalent qualifications in vocational courses will also count, as will equivalent overseas qualifications. Therefore a student with 3 x C grades and 2 x ‘4’ grades will qualify to study at level 3. †Number grade outcomes in GCSE English and Maths will appear from August 2017. Grades of 4 and above will allow students to progress onto a Level 3 learning programme, but access to some subjects will require a grade 6 or above (an ‘old’ B grade). Please see our subject pages for specific details.

The structure and options in our main curriculum offer is as follows:

1. All level 3 programmes will consist of four elements in the lower sixth year on a 3+1 basis, which includes subjects studied over two years alongside a qualification undertaken over one year:- 

Students with excellent GCSE results will take a learning programme consisting of 4 A levels or a mix of A levels and BTECs. Students will study these four subjects across two years.

Students with good GCSE results can take 3 A levels or the equivalent as subjects taken over two years alongside an additional course lasting one year. The broadening course will usually be an AS level in which the exam is taken at the end of the first or lower sixth year.

Students with satisfactory GCSEs at around the basic 5 GCSE A*-C or grade 4 level will take 3 subjects over two years, probably a mixture of A levels and BTECs plus a one year course. It might be that the one year course needs to be a GCSE re-take. If not, the broadening course will be a smaller qualification than a full AS level or BTEC Certificate like a personal finance qualification or a research skills qualification.

2. We will be happy to individualise and agree a learning programme with you which differs from the recommendations above so long as this makes sense to you and to the College

3. Where possible, students taking a broadening AS level course alongside 3 A levels will have the opportunity of continuing this as a full A level in the upper sixth year as well as or instead of one of their 'two-year' A levels.

4. Students in the upper sixth year will have the opportunity of taking an additional one-year broadening course to widen their range of qualifications. A popular choice here is the AS Extended Project Qualification

5. All students who fail to achieve Maths and/or English GCSE at grade 4 or above will have to retake these subjects as a one-year course.

6. In addition to 'two-year' subjects and 'one-year' courses you will have access to our Shaping Futures programme and a whole range of enrichment options.

Examples of Level 3 Programmes

Here are four examples of Level 3 programmes showing how courses can fit together across two years:

Example 1, student with excellent GCSEs - four core subjects: 4 A levels

  Element 1 Element 2 Element 3 Element 4
Year 1 A level Biology  A level Chemistry  A level Maths  A level Drama
Year 2

Example 2a, Student with good GCSEs - three subjects over two years plus broadening one-year courses: 3 A levels and an AS level and an EPQ

  Element 1 Element 2 Element 3 Element 4
Year 1 A level Product Design A level Psychology A level Film Studies AS level History of Art
Year 2 Extended Project Qualification

Example 2b, Students with good GCSEs - three subjects over two years plus broadening one-year courses: 2 A levels, a BTEC and  AS level with EPQ

  Element 1 Element 2 Element 3 Element 4
Year 1 A level 
English Literature
A level Spanish BTEC Business

AS level Law
Year 2  Extended project Qualification

Example 2c, students with satisfactory GCSEs - three core subjects plus a broadening course: 1 A level, BTEC Diploma (equivalent to 2 A levels) and a GCSE 

   Element 1  Element 2 & 3  Element 4
Year 1   A level Sociology BTEC Media                                                GCSE Maths 
 Year 2   

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