Qualifications Explained

Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service offers a range of courses offering different qualifications and study levels. Choosing a course can be difficult; however we offer plenty of support and guidance available to help you make the right decision.


Study levels

Most courses are split into 'levels' (e.g. Level 2, Level 3). We offer courses up to Level 3 and can help signpost other providers if you would like to take your learning further The level best for you will depend on any existing qualifications and experience. In many cases, you will need to have a Level 2 qualification in a relevant subject to join a Level 3 course, a Level 1 qualification to join a Level 2 course and so on.

Further Education courses, including Apprenticeships, A-levels and BTECs, are part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and are broken down into:

  • Entry Level courses
  • Level 1 courses
  • Level 2 courses
  • Level 3 courses
  • Higher Education courses are typically classed at between Level 4 and Level 6.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are designed to give young people and adults valuable qualifications, vital work experience - and a salary while studying. Apprenticeships at Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service are available in a range of subjects including children and people's workforce, support for teaching and learning in schools (teaching assistant), business and administration, customer service & catering and professional chefs

Apprenticeships are available at Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 as an Apprenticeship, an Advanced Apprentice or a Higher Apprenticeship. You can find out more about apprenticeships at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/getintowork (opens in a new window) or by contacting our Workplace Learning Team at workplacelearning@derbyshire.gov.uk or on 01629 536568

Functional Skills

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, maths and ICT - usually completed as part of another qualification such as an Apprenticeship or Diploma. These new nationally recognised qualifications are a great way to boost the skills needed for further study or in the workplace.

Functional Skills are available from Entry Level to Level 2.

GCSEs

GCSEs are Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications (depending on the grades achieved).

Although many people achieve GCSEs at school, GCSEs are open to learners of any age.

At Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service we offer a number of GCSE courses for students looking to re-sit and improve grades or for adult students returning to education.

NVQs

NVQs or National Vocational Qualifications are work-based qualifications designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge to do a particular job well. NVQs can be taken on their own or as part of an Apprenticeship. Level 1, 2 and 3 NVQ courses are available at Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service.

Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications often shortened to VQs or vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) are designed to give you work-based skills employers are looking for.

There are various types of vocational qualifications available from Entry Level to Level 8. The three main categories of VRQs are:

  • Awards, Certificates and Diplomas - these flexible qualifications can be taken on their own or as part of an Apprenticeship. Level 2 Awards, Certificates and Diplomas are equivalent to GCSEs at A*-C, while Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A-levels.
  • BTECs - BTECs are available at Entry Level, Level 1, Level2 and Level 3 in a number of subject areas. BTECs can vary from subject to subject, with some assessed via a portfolio of work and others calling for project work, assignments, written tests and coursework.
  • National Awards and Certificates - These qualifications can be taken at Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 and are purely practical courses based around gaining work-related skills.

Assessment appeals

If you have received a grade back from your tutor/assessor that you are not happy with, you should speak with them to try to resolve this within 10 working days. If it is for an end-of-course assessment decision, you should approach the Course Leader/Internal Verifier. If this does not resolve the matter, you can fill out an Appeals Form, available in centre, and submit to the appropriate Programme Development Manager. An Arbitrator would then be appointed who would look into this and aim to reach a decision, with clear reasons, within 15 working days of receipt of the Appeals Form.

If you wish to make a complaint about the service, you can find information on our How to let us know your views on learning with us page, or ask our centre staff.