Courses Explained

We understand that trying to help your child find the right course can be confusing. We have a number of different resources designed to help you understand the different courses and levels we offer.

ProgrammeLevelDurationEntry Requirements
IB Diploma (IBDP) 3 2 years 6 GCSEs in the A* to C or 9 to 5 range, or a Level 2 qualification with Merit profile
A Levels 3 2 years 5 GCSEs in the A* to C or 9 to 5 range, or a Level 2 qualification with Merit profile
Vocational Programmes 1, 2 & 3 1 to 2 years Varies depending on the Level
Apprenticeships 1, 2 & 3 1 to 4 years Varies depending on the Level
Foundation Learning Entry 1 to 4 Years No formal qualifications needed

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

We are the only state-funded college in Somerset to offer the IBDP. This qualification is aimed at highly motivated academic students who have interests and abilities across a wide range of subjects. Students will study six different subjects as well as a challenging core of activity over two years. The qualification is highly regarded by universities and provides a broad general education which will be beneficial in any career.

Entry requirements: At least six GCSEs in the A* to C or 9 to 5 range, or an appropriate Level 2 qualification with a Merit profile.

Assessment: Written examinations at the end of the course plus assignments throughout the course.

Progression: Higher education, either at Bridgwater & Taunton College's University Centre Somerset or at universities around the country, another Level 3 programme, an Apprenticeship or employment.

A Levels

This is a good route if your child has enjoyed and been successful in their GCSEs, and are happy to continue studying in the same style. The emphasis is on examinations, with some coursework. A Levels can be the route to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. They could be suited to your child if they are less clear about their career plans or simply want to keep their options open. Students can also mix A Levels with a range of different vocational qualifications.

Entry requirements: At least five GCSEs in the A* to C or 9 to 5 range, or an appropriate Level 2 qualification with a Merit profile.

Duration: Two years.

Assessment: Written examinations at the end of each year plus some assignments throughout. Creative courses will involve more practical, coursework based elements.

Progression: Higher education, either at Bridgwater & Taunton College's University Centre Somerset or at universities around the country, another Level 3 programme, an Apprenticeship or employment.

Vocational Programmes

If your child has a clear idea of the sort of career they want to follow, and/or they prefer a hands-on approach to learning, then a vocational programme might suit them. A BTEC Diploma, for example, is a practical qualification with the emphasis on coursework, rather than examinations. Most vocational programmes include some work experience or a work placement, and are therefore good preparation for employment. If your child achieves a Level 3 vocational qualification, they will be able to apply for a university course in the same way as an A Level student. As long as they meet the entry requirements they may also have the opportunity to mix a vocational qualification with a range of different A Levels.

Entry requirements: Level 1: GCSEs in the D to G or 3 to 1 range, or other equivalent qualifications. Level 2: At least five GCSEs in the A* to E or 9 to 2 range, with at least two at grade D, or with an appropriate Level 1 qualification with a Merit profile. Level 3: At least five GCSEs in the A* to C or 9 to 4 range, or an appropriate Level 2 qualification with a Merit profile.

Duration: One to two years dependant on level and/or programme.

Assessment: Coursework and practical assessment; some courses may include written examinations.

Progression: Higher education, either at Bridgwater & Taunton College's University Centre Somerset or at universities around the country, another Level 3 programme, an Apprenticeship or employment.

Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship requires the student to find a job with an employer who will pay their salary and make provision for them to attend College on a part-time basis. Our Training Officer team might be able to help your child with finding an employer, and we have an Open Evening in March which aims to introduce potential apprentices to employers. If your child is considering an Apprenticeship then it is often sensible to apply for a full-time programme as well, which provides them with a back-up option in case they do not find a job.

Entry requirements: Level 1: GCSEs in the D to G or 3 to 1 range, or other equivalent qualifications. Level 2: At least five GCSEs in the A* to E or 9 to 2 range, with at least two at grade D, or with an appropriate Level 1 qualification with a Merit profile.

Duration: 12 to 48 months dependant on level and/or programme.

Assessment: Practical assessments both in the workplace and at College. There will also be written work, practical assignments and examinations.

Progression: Permanent employment with their employer, higher education, either at Bridgwater & Taunton College's University Centre Somerset or at universities around the country, or a higher level Apprenticeship.

Working with Employers

Bridgwater & Taunton College has many links with local, national and international employers such as EDF Energy, DHL/Morrisons and Yeo Valley to name but a few. We see the importance in making those vital links with trained, industry professionals, in order to help our students get to where they want to be in life.

Sassi Holford

Sassi Holford

Apprenticeships are so clearly the way forward for my business. They allow me to have dedicated training which I otherwise could not integrate into my production. We can now develop the skills we need for future growth and the young Apprentices have a good qualification and are put on a solid career path.”

Sassi Holford, Director of Sassi Holford Bridal Design.

This video highlights the work we do with the luxury fashion company, Mulberry, and how we work together to train the workforce of the future.

Foundation Learning

These courses are for students at Entry Level and combine vocational/subject learning with personal and social development and Functional Skills. They are designed to increase participation and achievement, and ensure students engage and have opportunities to progress to meet their aspirations.

Entry requirements: A positive attitude to learning. No formal qualifications needed.

Assessment: Portfolios of work and observations throughout the duration of the course.

Progression: Another Entry Level course, a Level 1 course or employment.