Choosing your study programme

Priestley offers a wider selection of courses than any other local school or college allowing you to select the perfect study programme. These are the things to consider when making your decisions.

Entry requirements for A-Levels and Vocational Level 3
  • At least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or equivalent
  • To take an AS/A-Level you will also need to have a GCSE Grade 4 or above in English Language or English Literature.
  • To take a T-Level you will need to have GCSE Grade 4 or above in both GCSE English and Maths.

The breadth of your study programme will be determined by your average GCSE points score, which can be calculated by adding your GCSE scores together and dividing by the number of GCSEs taken.

Average GCSE ScoreOption At Priestley
7+four or five AS/A-Levels or Vocational Equivalent
5.6 to 6.9four AS/A-Levels or Vocational
4.2 to 5.5*three A-Levels or Vocational Equivalent (with an extended enrichment)
MIN 5 GCSES, GRADE 4 OR EQUIVALENTFull Level 3 Vocational Programme
2 Or AboveFoundation Programme

*We strongly recommend students in this group consider taking a mixed programme of AS/A-Levels and vocational options as national evidence suggests you are more likely to achieve your goals.

Please note:

  • Anyone with an average GCSE points score of 5.5 or above will be advised to study one of our aspirational enrichment programmes
  • Some individual subjects require a higher average GCSE points score
  • Our EPQ and/or Mathematical Studies courses are excellent qualifications that keep your options open
  • Vocational Level 2 qualifications passed pre-16

can replace one or two of our five GCSE entry requirements for Level 3

Informed Choices: If you are unsure of subject combinations it may be worth taking a look at the website Informed Choices that will help you understand which subjects open up different degree options, particularly at Russell Group Universities.

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Studying A-Levels at Priestley

In Year 1 you have the chance to study up to four AS / A-Levels if it is in your best interests. The AS is a qualification in its own right that we expect you to take at the end of your first year.


This offers the following advantages:

  • universities can use AS grades to help them make offers
  • they demonstrate the progress you have made since GCSE and help gauge the degrees for which you should apply
  • they are a good way to assess your strengths before applying for university and apprenticeships
  • your AS grades are worth UCAS points, even if you don’t continue the subject to A-Level


In Year 2 you are likely to focus on three of your choices and study them to A-Level.

Your timetable

Your timetable is made up of a series of blocks. At Level 3 your timetable will be made up of at least four blocks with a maximum of six.

QualificationNumber Of Blocks
One AS/A-Level1
Extended Project Qualification0.5
Mathematical Studies/Core Maths0.5
Extended Enrichment*0.5
Sport Academy0.5
Tutor (all students)0.5
* includes enrichments such as Pre Medical and Duke of Edinburgh.
Vocational courses

If you are aiming to combine Vocational courses and AS/A-Levels, please use the key below to see the number of blocks taken up by our vocational options. You will have numerous opportunities to discuss your combinations before you make your final decisions.

T-Levels are a full-time programme and cannot be combined with AS/A-Levels or other vocational options.

QualificationNo Of BlocksEquivalent
BTEC/OCR Certificate (C)1 (Year 1)1 AS
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (SD)1 (Year 2)1 A-Level
OCR Introductory Diploma (ID)1 (Year 2)1 A-Level
BTEC Extended Certificate (EC)2 (Year 1)1 A-Level
BTEC Foundation Diploma (FD)3 (Year 1)1.5 A-Levels
BTEC Diploma / OCR Diploma (D)2 (Year 2)2 A-Levels
BTEC / OCR Extended Diploma (ED)3 (Year 2)3 A-Levels
Foundation Programme (LEVEL 2)

All courses offered at this level last one year. To start an intermediate programme you would normally be expected to have the majority of your GCSEs at grade 3 or 2 with at least one GCSE at grade 4 or above and an average GCSE points score of at least 3.

GCSE and Pre GCSE qualifications

We offer a number of courses including maths and English Language for those seeking to improve their core qualifications. 

Note: Our entry criteria is for guidance. Where necessary we will take into account individual circumstances, for example health reasons, for an applicant not being able to take eight GCSEs or equivalent in Year 11. If there are special circumstances you wish us to consider please let our Admissions Team know as soon as possible. We reserve the right to amend our admissions criteria to reflect the impact national guidance/reforms.

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