Dorset Wide Testimonials | Alternative Routes
joe decided that a levels weren’t right for him…
The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport
Sixth Form for 1 year, then left
BTEC Diploma in Music Tech at Weymouth College
Degree in Art & Design at London College of Communication
I did a year of sixth form but it wasn’t really for me, so after some research I found the BTEC Diploma in Music Technology at Weymouth College…It prepared me for some of the pitfalls of the music industry, how to deal with clients in a professional way and a particularly memorable lesson on tax returns (which is very important to me now a self-employed person).
Our lecturers had years of industry experience themselves, which not only informed their teaching but also ensured they were understanding when it came to our own industry opportunities. I remember being encouraged to get out there and make it happen on a short tour with my band during term time, although I had to work hard to catch up when I got back!
After college, I went on to a degree in sound art & design at the London College of Communication. This was a great chance for me to learn about the history of sound and flex my creative/conceptual muscles a bit more.
I worked at a record label for a while managing the distribution service which is selling records from other labels to record shops. I’ve been lucky enough to release music on a few notable labels and travel around Europe regularly playing records for people, as a composer I worked on adverts, television and films. This was anything from a new car commercial to fashion collections!
I’m now a music producer at MassiveMusic (a global music agency, specialising in creating music for brands, advertising and television). I firmly believe that especially in creative industries a motivated, passionate person that is always willing to learn and work relentlessly at their craft can succeed.
krysti decided that a levels weren’t right for her…
A levels at Twynham School, Christchurch. After a few months changed course…
Level 3 Extended BTEC Diploma in Health and Social Care at The Grange School, Christchurch
Bachelors of Nursing (Adult) at Southampton University
After I finished secondary school, I applied and received a place on the Level 3 Extended BTEC Diploma in Health and Social Care at The Grange School. However, after receiving my GCSE results, I decided I would stay on at Twynham School to do my A Levels but after a few months I decided this wasn’t the best route for me and that a vocational route would support me more in reaching university. After discussion with the head of Twynham Vocational, I was offered the chance to move over to the BTEC route.
During my time on the BTEC course, with the support of my tutors and my own hard work I was awarded an overall grade of triple Distinction. In addition to my academic studies for the course, I also spent time doing work experience which included going into a nursing home to help with the activities, I also spent some time at Bournemouth Hospital on a rotation between different wards and theatres to find out what it was like working in a hospital.
After applying to different universities and being offered places at each of them, I took up my offer at the University of Southampton and started studying for my Bachelors of Nursing in Adult Nursing in September 2016.
If I had carried on with A levels, I do not believe I would have been accepted into a Russel Group University to study for the career of my dreams. The BTEC taught me all the foundations of health care which has helped me to excel at university.
olivia decided that a levels weren’t right for her…
The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport
Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Sciences at Yeovil Partnership College (part of Beaminster Colfox Joint Sixth Form)
Bsc Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science at Bournemouth University
Although my GCSE grades were reasonably good, I did not want to go through the stress and worry of A levels. I chose to do a BTEC at college and concentrate on course work. In my opinion, exams are mostly about a person’s memory and do not necessarily reflect on their intelligence.
At college I received the highest grade possible, triple Distinction and have now almost completed my first year at Bournemouth University. Having completed GCSEs I was familiar with exams, however attending college helped me deal with completing and submitting assignments which has helped me confidently complete assignments for University. Yeovil College gave me the opportunity to study forensics which was not available at A level.
So far, Uni has been really interesting. I am studying Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic Science. I’m gaining experience in the field, working on a site that is believed to have once been a salt mine. I have also gained experience in what to do in a crime scene environment, such as looking for relevant evidence and how to handle it correctly.
tom decided that a levels weren’t right for him…
The Wey Valley School, Weymouth
Level 2 & Level 3 in Public Services and Foundation Degree in Public Services at Weymouth College
Top-up year for full undergraduate degree at Plymouth University > Masters in Criminology at Plymouth University
I took my GCSEs at The Wey Valley School. Things at home weren’t great and I went into care in the October following my GCSEs.
I moved into supported lodgings. I was 16 and I had just started Weymouth College to study Public Services. I didn’t get my maths GCSE and had to do Level 2 instead of 3. I remember being devastated about this because I felt like I was a year behind my friends but, in the long run, this didn’t really matter.
After supported lodgings, I moved to my own flat and studied Level 3 in Public Services at the same time. I then went on to do the foundation degree with college. Plymouth University offer a Top-up year to the full undergraduate degree, so I moved to Plymouth and graduated in 2017. I wanted to continue with my education still, so decided to enrol for the Masters in Criminology. Sadly, I suffered a family bereavement in 2018 which interrupted my studies and I am currently retaking my Masters.
When I was at college and uni, I had mentors who I used to meet weekly. It was hard living on my own and being at college, but they helped me to keep up and would push me. I wouldn’t have done it without them. If I had been left to my own devices, I would have failed because I didn’t have the support network at home. Having these people helped to make the difference.
toula decided that a levels weren’t right for her…
The Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport
Level 3 Applied Sciences Extended Diploma at Yeovil Partnership
BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Brighton started in 2017 and has 1 year left
I chose to complete a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science at Yeovil College because I didn’t enjoy the way A levels work. I loved the idea of a large college as I felt more independent there since it’s like university life in terms of the deadlines I had to meet. My timetable was more relaxed, and I had more free time compared to if I had chosen A levels.
My tutors fully supported me on my route to university and I achieved triple Distinction which I was ecstatic with. I then secured an offer to study a BSc in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences at the University of Brighton.
I have just completed my second year and I am on track to meet a high 2:1! I have so far enjoyed every second of it and learnt so much. I have really grown as a person at university and highly recommend it to anyone who thinks this will benefit their career.