Post 16 Education: explanation of course levels

The majority of post 16 courses are organised  by ‘Level’ on the various Qualifications Framework across the UK. The level of course that suits you will depend on what level of education you have already achieved, such as how many GCSE’s you might have, or your experience.

Please note entry requirement are given only as a guide and most colleges are flexible and take into account relevant experience, attitude and commitment. We have included the corresponding levels for Scotland which uses a slightly different framework.

Level 1: These are often entry level course, a starting point from which to progress to further qualifications post 16. Requirements for courses are usually one or more GCSE grades G or above.  Level 1 courses include BTEC diplomas and certificates at Level 1, NVQ 1 and GCSE’s grades D-G. Equivalent to level 3 and 4 in the Scottish Credit and Qualification and Framework.

Level 2:
Level 2 courses are the next step up in further education.  Requirements are usually 4 GCSE grades D and above, or level 1 diplomas. They are equivalent to GCSE grades A* to C and include level 2 BTECs and NVQS. This is equivalent to level 5 in Scotland

Level 3: These further education courses are equivalent to A levels. Requirements are usually 4 GCSE C and above or level 2 diplomas. Equivalent to level 6 in Scotland

Level 4+: These are higher education courses at early degree level. We have only included those that are practically orientated and have not included Honour degrees. Entry requirements are usually National Diploma, 1 A level or NVQ level 3. This is equivalent to level  7 and 8 onwards.

Other: we have also included a range of other courses that have no obvious level. These are often short training courses.

For more information to help compare colurses you could visit:
And for Scotland: