A-Level or BTEC?

A-Level, T-Level or BTEC/CTEC?

Choosing whether to study an A-Level or BTEC programme can be a tough decision to make. The main difference between these courses is that A-Levels are assessed through examinations with some providing coursework modules, whilst BTEC/CTEC courses are more coursework based with some practical assessments and work experience.

At Notre Dame, we offer a wide range of advanced level courses including, A-Levels, BTEC Diplomas, BTEC Extended Diplomas and BTEC Extended Certificates, as well as a number of Intermediate courses such as BTEC Extended First Certificates and GCSE resits in Maths and English.

A level or BTEC qualificatpion grid

You can study a range of subjects or study one subject if you have a clear idea of what you want to do in the future. For example, if you want a career in the Health and Social Care sector, you could do an CTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care which is equivalent to three A-Levels. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the Digital sector, you could enrol on the brand-new Digital T-Level which is also equivalent to three A-Levels and includes a 45 day industry placement.

Students who are less sure of their future goals can benefit from studying a combination of BTECs/CTECs and A Levels at Notre Dame, that’s why we offer students the opportunity to mix BTECs/CTECs with A-Levels to create a broader combination of qualifications.

Most students on an A-Level programme study the equivalent of three or four subjects. For a BTEC/CTEC or mixed programme, your combination of courses should be the equivalent of three subjects at A-Level, with BTEC/CTEC Extended Certificate counting as ‘single’, BTEC/CTEC Diplomas counting as ‘double’ and BTEC/CTEC Extended Diplomas counting as ‘triple’ subjects.

If you are uncertain of how many subjects to choose, please don’t worry – we will give you advice and guidance when we meet you for your interview.

Notre Dame Pathway


What is the Notre Dame Pathway?

The Notre Dame Pathway is designed to help students boost their GCSE profile after year 11 by studying level 2 BTEC/CTEC qualifications and retaking GCSE Maths or English if required. Students on the pathway become level 2 students for one year before progressing to a level 3 study programme at Notre Dame. To take a BTEC/CTEC level 2 qualification, you should have at least four GCSEs at grade 3 or equivalent qualifications including at least a grade 3 in GCSE English Language and/or GCSE Maths. Students who haven’t already achieved a minimum of grade 4 in both GCSE English and Maths will continue to work towards this.

What level 2 courses are available?

BTEC/ CTEC Level 2 courses include:

  • Level 2 First in Applied Science
  • Level 2 First Certificate in Business
  • Level 2 Certificate / Extended Certificate in Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 First Certificate in Creative Digital Media Production

Progression to Level 3

These level 2 qualifications provide excellent preparation for entry to level 3 BTEC/CTEC courses. To progress onto a level 3 programme, you will need to achieve at least a merit in your level 2 BTEC/CTEC, achieve at least a grade 4 in GCSE English and/ or Maths (please see individual subjects for specific entry requirements), and have demonstrated a commitment to study at Notre Dame through outstanding attendance, behaviour and attitude.