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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below.

The information provided is correct at the time of publishing and will be updated with new information on a regular basis.

If I want to sit my exams and increase my grades, how will this work?

If you are not happy with your GCSE results, then you have two options. One option is to appeal the grades that you have been awarded. Exam boards are currently working on the arrangements for appeals and more detail will follow shortly after consultation with schools and colleges.

Will this mean I am put back a year / have to start my course(s) a year late?

Taking your GCSEs in the Autumn 2021 term (subject to awarding body availability) or appealing grades would not necessarily mean that you would be put back a year or have to start A Levels/a vocational course a year late. Colleges will work with the grades that you have been awarded to find a suitable programme for you to study. It may mean that in the first year you might follow a different programme to what you applied for with a view to progressing to A Levels or a higher-level vocational course in the following year.

If after sitting an exam, or an appeal, you then qualify for A Levels, a vocational course or higher level of study, then your college will work with you through a change of course process to help you make any changes to your programme of study.

You may also meet the entry requirements for your chosen course based on the GCSE grades that you have achieved and therefore will not need to take any GCSE exams in the Autumn term, unless a higher grade is required for university progression or other progression opportunities such as a higher level course, apprenticeship or employment.

What if I achieve higher grades, can I change subjects/course(s)?

If you do achieve higher grades, then you will be able to discuss these with the college that you have applied to. This discussion would normally take place during the enrolment period and your college will work carefully with you to ensure that you are on the most appropriate programme of study. 

If you achieve higher grades as a result of an appeal or sitting an exam, then you will be able to discuss with your college a change to your course or courses that you are taking.

Can I still apply for college?

Yes, you can still make applications to colleges. If you are thinking of applying now, then it is advisable to apply to more than one college to ensure that you keep your options open.

I have applied for college but what happens now? I haven’t heard anything yet.

If you applied recently, then it is likely that the college you applied to is working through their applications and making arrangements for organising interviews. Normally the admissions team for the college will be in contact with you to arrange next steps. If you have not heard anything from them, then the following contact pages are of use for each of the local colleges:

What would I do if the college I’ve applied to says my grades are not good enough for the course I applied for? What are my options?

All colleges in the local area will work with you to find a suitable programme based on your GCSE results. Your offer to study at a college is normally based on predicted grades and the courses that you are offered are provisional until these are known.  

All colleges will work hard with you to provide you with a place at their institution, but it might be on a slightly different programme to what you originally applied to do. Colleges will take into consideration your aspirations and career goals when putting a suitable programme together for you.  

You may need to spend three years at college as opposed to two, but your progression will not be held back from doing so. Many school leavers in the city follow this route and successfully progress onto university, apprenticeships and employment.

Will I have to sit an assessment to get onto my course?

The Flying Start activities have been put in place for you to access and get prepared for the next level of study. At this stage colleges have not got any plans to ask you to sit additional assessments. Therefore, it is important that you make effective use of the Flying Start materials and the subject specific resources as these may help you to demonstrate your level of work during the college enrolment period.

I am realising what I thought I wanted to study at college isn’t for me, what can I do?

Many applicants change their mind in terms of the courses that they would like to study at college. It is advisable to contact the college directly and let them know of your plans. You can also discuss this at the enrolment stage too once your GCSE grades are known.

What will happen after I submit my application?

If you submit your application online, you will get an email to confirm that it has been received. If you do not receive this email, it means that you have either not fully completed the application or you have supplied an incorrect email address.

interviews & ENROLMENT

What is a college interview?

During an interview the college will find out what you want to study and why and decide whether they can offer you a place.

I haven’t had my college interview yet. Will this still go ahead?

Yes, the local colleges are still arranging holding interviews – usually by telephone. (Correct as of April 2021).

What is enrolment?

This is the final step you take before officially joining and beginning lessons. At enrolment, you finalise your courses (based on your actual GCSE grades) and complete the administration required to officially become a college student.

When does enrolment take place?

The main enrolment period runs from the day that GCSE results are published until the end of August.

Do I have to attend enrolment?

It is compulsory to be enrolled on your study programme before starting your courses and this is usually done face-to-face in college. We are currently considering alternative ways of enrolling students, either by phone or online, should the pandemic prevent us from bringing everyone onto the college site.

Can parents / carers attend enrolment?

Yes, parents / carers are encouraged to attend enrolment. The process includes payment of the student fund, college deposit, course payments and bus passes (where applicable) and many parents / carers prefer to be there in person to do this.

I applied for an apprenticeship opportunity but haven’t heard anything. Will the employer mind me calling during this uncertain time?

It is recommended for you to call or email your training provider/college so you can get an understanding of the situation. It may be that due to the situation they have decided to delay recruiting an apprentice.

I have been offered an apprenticeship that is due to start now. Can I start an apprenticeship even though my careers adviser told me the official school leaving date still applies (last Friday in June)?

It is correct that the school leaving date (last Friday in June) applies so you will need to wait to start the apprenticeship after that date. This may be subject to change as circumstances develop so it is important to check this section for updates.

Having finished Year 11, I want to earn some money, what can I do job wise?

It is important to note that you will want to make sure that this is the right option for you in terms of future progression. At a later stage you may need a vocational, Level 3 or higher qualification to progress into a particular careers or job so it is advisable to give full consideration to attending college. Accessing the careers materials on the Flying Start webpage and discussing with a careers adviser from the local authority or college would be sensible steps to make sure that this is the right option for you. It is possible to combine some part-time hours with college work.