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    Information for Teachers

Information for Teachers and Staff

As a member of staff at Notley High School & Braintree Sixth Form you can have a huge impact on the future of our students. You can shape and influence the choices they make and the pathways they intend to follow. It is therefore vital that you are empowered to support our students and have access to the most uptodate information about careers and the possible destinations our students may pursue.

A Levels

Many 16-19 year olds take A Levels. A Levels offer students a solid academic grounding in a subject, are internationally recognised and are required by many universities and professions. Students studying A Levels usually take them in three or four subjects. Students who are not clear what they want to do in the future should take subjects they enjoy and keep doors open. It is always possible to take additional options later on - after all, these days many people completely retrain mid-career.

T Levels

T Levels are an alternative to A levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses. Equivalent in size to 3 A levels, a T Level focuses on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships.  Each T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace; employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.  T Level students spend 80% of the course in their learning environment, gaining the skills that employers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement, where they put these skills into action.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB is an alternative to A Levels that has grown in popularity in the UK in recent years. It offers a broader education, as young people take six subjects, three at a standard level and three at a higher level. There are also three compulsory core elements to the IB - an extended essay, participation in an extra-curricular activity and classes on the theory of knowledge.

Vocational Qualifications

Vocational qualifications, such as a BTEC or diploma, provide a practical and creative approach to learning and are less classroom-based than A Levels. They often provide the opportunity for students to gain work experience and they are usually examined via assessments and coursework, with less emphasis on final exams.

Some people wrongly think that vocational study is only suitable for less able students. Vocational courses can be as stimulating and challenging as A Levels, but with a stronger focus on practical application.

There are many different types of vocational qualifications in a wide range of subjects at all levels, from Entry Level right up to Level 8 (GCSEs are level 2, A Levels are level 3, an honours degree is level 6 and a Doctorate (PhD) is level 8.)

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Subjects that are related to a broad employment area such as business, engineering, IT, health and social care;
  • Courses that lead to specific jobs such as hairdressing, accountancy, professional cookery, plumbing, dental nursing;
  • Apprenticeships. These are 'work-related', where people will be trained for a job role and get paid as theylearn.


An apprenticeship is a work-based programme which sits within a full-time job and lays the foundation for a successful career in a chosen field. Often the apprenticeship will include a professional qualification relevant to the sector or role.

For example, in an insurance company, there are technical apprenticeships that include professional qualifications from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). There are also apprenticeships which include qualifications from other professional bodies in areas such as accounting, IT, law and marketing.

Apprenticeships are not just available in the so-called ‘trades’.

Apprenticeships are available at different levels and every apprenticeship must last at least one year. Typically, the higher the level of the apprenticeship, the longer the duration. Degree apprenticeships bring together an academic and professional qualification with full-time employment – and at a lower cost than studying full-time at university for a degree.

Unlike a degree, which is designed and awarded by a university, professional qualifications are developed by the sector for the sector and therefore meet employer needs. Further useful visit and


If a student is not quite ready to start an apprenticeship, they could consider a traineeship. Traineeships are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job, but do not yet have the appropriate skills or experience. Traineeships aim to prepare young people for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’.

Further information about traineeships is available here