The College of West Anglia

Qualifications available at CWA

At CWA there are various routes learners aged can take:


A-levels are one of the main routes to higher education and university for those aged 16-18. From September 2015 A-levels will be linear, with all assessment at the end of two years of study.

The AS level will be retained, but has been redesigned as a high quality stand-alone qualification and will not count towards the final A-level grade. Their purpose will be to encourage curriculum breadth and they will remain broadly at their current standard. It may be that, in some subjects, it will be appropriate for the AS level to be designed to be co-taught with the first year of the A-level.

Access courses

Access courses give a route to higher education and university for those aged 19+.


Apprenticeships offer learners the chance to earn while they learn. Skills and qualifications are gained through a structured programme of practical work and classroom study. Apprentices will spend the majority of their time at work and attend college on either a day release or block basis.

Vocational courses

A vocational course, such as an extended diploma, extended certificate or NVQ, allows you to prepare for a specific career or higher education. They combine vocational (practical) and academic study and have greater emphasis on assessment through assignments rather than exams.

Research in 2013 by London Economics show that graduates who had studied BTECs were on par with their A level-only peers in terms of the jobs they secured. In fact, more BTEC-only graduates were found to be working as managers or in associate professional roles, compared to A level-only graduates. 95% of higher education institutions accept BTEC students, including Russell Group universities, a group of 24 leading UK universities.

Studying a BTEC Extended Diploma is the equivalent of studying 3 A-levels and both qualifications can give up to 360 UCAS points.

UCAS points comparison
Grade A2 AS BTEC Extended Diploma UCAS points
A 120 (A* = 140) 60 Distinction, distinction, distinction 360
 B  100  50  Distinction, merit, merit  280
 C  80  40  Merit, merit, merit  240
 D  60  30  Merit, pass, pass  160
 E  40  20  Pass, pass, pass  120

Higher education degrees

Higher education courses, such as foundation degrees, higher national diplomas (HND) and degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc), are level 4 and level 5 qualifications, usually studied by those aged 18 and above.

Entry requirements

This information provides a general overview of our qualifications and entry requirements, however, some courses may have other specific criteria, so please check the individual course leaflets for further information.

Level Qualification 14-16 Years 16-19 Years 19+ Years Entry Requirements
3 Access Programmes × Interview
1-3 City & Guilds Some × Work Experience
1-3 NVQs Some × Work Experience
3 A-levels × × 6 GCSEs C or above, including maths & English
3 Extended Diploma × × 4/5 GCSEs C or above
2 Diploma/Certificate × × × GCSEs C/Ds
1 Diploma/Certificate × × × GCSEs D/Es

Higher Education Qualifications for 18+

Qualifications Entry Requirements Part-Time Full-Time
Post Graduate  Appropriate Degree × ×
Full Degrees BA/BSc including Diploma Higher Education  Appropriate level 3 × ×
 Foundation Degrees Appropriate level 3 or suitable employment experience × ×
Higher National Certificate (HNC) Higher National Diploma (HND) Appropriate level 3 qualification or relevant job role × ×
City & Guilds  Relevant work experience or C&G level 3 ×
NVQs 4-5  level 3 ×