Entry Requirements

What you need to apply

Entry Requirements



Entry criteria

To take three subjects at A-level you will need a minimum of four Cs and two Bs at GCSE plus additional specific requirements for some subjects.  If you do not have a grade C/4 in GCSE Maths or English we expect you to resit these.

Entry criteria for four A-levels: All GCSE grades A/A* across all GCSE subjects plus additional specific requirements for some subjects. Taking four A-level subjects requires agreement from the Assistant Principal.

Level 3 vocational courses (BTEC)

Entry criteria

Four Cs at GCSE or a Level 2 First Diploma in the subject you wish to study.

Level 3 Diplomas are recognised qualifications for higher education and direct entry into employment. Level 3 courses are mainly assessed through assignments and coursework.

  • Level 3 Extended Diplomas are equivalent to three A-levels
  • Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas are equivalent to one A-level
  • Level 3 Certificates are equivalent to one AS-level

You can combine these courses with GCSEs as required.

The Subsidiary and Certificate courses can be combined with A-levels for a suitably qualified student.

Secretarial & Administration courses

Entry criteria

Minimum of four Cs, which must include English Language grade C/4.

We offer one main secretarial course, the CILEx Legal Secretaries Diploma, which runs over two years.

This course leads to qualifications which are recognised and highly regarded by employers and can be combined with A-levels or GCSEs.

We also offer vocational, skills-based courses which can be combined with a full A-level programme, or with a Level 3 Subsidiary or Certificate course.

Level 2 vocational courses (BTEC)

Entry criteria

Fewer than 4 Cs, mainly Ds and Es at GCSE.

Level 2 courses are one year courses that provide an alternative to GCSEs and can lead to further training, employment or Level 3 study. As part of this course you may take a functional skills exam in IT.

To take this type of course, you will probably have a mixture of C, D and E grades at GCSE and will have missed out on four Cs at GCSE. If you do not get a grade C/4 in Maths or English, we expect you to resit these.

To progress to the next level in your second year, it is expected that you:

  • Improve your GCSE Maths and English grade where applicable
  • Have good attendance and effort grades
  • Pass the Level 2 course

Level 1 vocational course Foundation Studies

Entry criteria

No formal qualifications are required.

This is the course for you if you need to develop the skills for employment or       Level 2 study.

GCSE courses

Entry criteria

It is mandatory that any student not gaining at least a grade C/4 in GCSE Maths or English must enrol onto a Level 2 Maths or English course as required.

These courses will be added to the student’s main programme of study at enrolment.

ESOL Skills for Life

Entry criteria

This is for students whose second language is English and who need help with basic written and spoken English.

Which courses am I qualified to follow?

  • Check the chart below before completing the application form to make sure you pick the right level course.
  • Consider subjects you have not studied before. Some of our most popular courses are not taught in school.
  • You can mix and match different types of advanced courses if you have the right qualifications and you will resit GCSE Maths and English if required.
  • Select courses you will enjoy and be good at. Use what you have done at school as your best guide.
  • Always select your course by being honest about your likely grades and check the entry criteria for the different types of courses.
  • Students with Level 2 BTEC First Diplomas are welcome at Palmer’s College. We will consider these alongside GCSE results to decide the correct course level.
Your school GCSE results
Course level
Your options at Palmer’s College
Mainly Es, Fs and Gs or no formal qualifications
Level 1 vocational course (Foundation Studies)
Fewer than four Cs, mainly Ds and Es
Level 2 vocational course with Level 2 Maths/English if needed
Minimum of four Cs or a full BTEC First Diploma which links to one of the BTEC Level 3 Diplomas at Palmer’s College
Level 3 vocational course plus a GCSE or a single block Secretarial and Administration course or Secretarial and Administration courses (CILEx) as appropriate
Minimum of two Bs and four Cs with one of the Bs supporting the AS subject choice
Three AS courses
Mainly A/A*
Four AS courses
Qualifications from other countries
1,2 & 3
We will discuss and agree these with you. We can also give you extra support with English as a second language if needed.

You can combine these courses with GCSEs as required.
In association with
  • English 2016
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