Foster carer? Kin carer? Social worker? Pathway worker? Other professional?

CLASS Cymru is a Wales wide group of FE, HE, Government and Charity / third sector representatives.

You can look at all our links to FE Colleges in Wales and links to Universities in Wales, which will help you see the support and programmes available to children and young adults you work with and support.

What is Further Education (FE)?

Further Education is post-compulsory education for people over the age of 16. You can study qualifications that can be either academic or vocational depending on your goal. To study a Level 3 qualification, you usually need to have a Level 2 qualification - GCSEs, BTEC First Diploma/Certificate, Apprenticeship or NVQ 2.  An FE College provides Further Education and some also provide HE qualifications and qualifications for pre 16 school pupils.

What is Higher Education (HE)?

The term Higher Education (HE) generally refers to the next stage after A levels, National Diploma or another Level 3 course undertaken at school or college. Most people start a Higher Education course at 18 years of age, and after 3 or 4 years gain a degree. However you can study HE at any age over 18. It’s also possible to study part time, have a paid job and complete your degree over a longer period. You can study at a university, a further education college or by distance learning.

What are Levels and which courses fit?

Courses are put into Levels by which you can identify equivalents. If you complete qualifications at one level you can usually move on to the next.

Entry Level Qualifications at this level include CSE, DOVE and other entry level certificates
Level 1 Also known as Foundation Level. Qualifications at this level include NVQ level 1, GNVQ Foundation, GCSEs grades D - G, GCSEs in vocational subjects grades DD-GG, CACHE C
Level 2 Also known as Intermediate Level. Qualifications at this level include NVQ level 2, GNVQ Intermediate, GCSEs grades A* - C, GCSEs in vocational subjects grades A*A* - CC, BTEC First Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate (Intermediate), CACHE Certificate
Level 3 Also known as Advanced Level. Qualifications at this level include NVQ level 3, AS level and A level, BTEC National Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate (Advanced), International Baccalaureate, CACHE Diploma
Level 4 & 5 Also known as Higher Level. Qualifications at this level include NVQ level 4/5, HNC, HND, Degrees, Professional qualifications

Applying for Higher Education? What is UCAS?

Nearly all applications for HE courses go through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This means that you need to apply through UCAS for whatever university and course you would like to study. Some students who already have qualifications or are mature students with non-traditional qualifications can apply directly to a University for one course only.

UCAS Tariff - what is it and how does it work?

  • UCAS Tariff is the points system used to help Higher Education Institutions to transfer qualifications and achievements into a numerical system

  • It helps to compare different types of qualifications fairly, and then to compare applicants fairly

  • Points can be totalled from the different qualifications that are included in the tariff

  • There is no limit to the number of points which can be accumulated

  • There is no double counting - applicants cannot count the same or similar qualifications twice

  • Key skills also attract points

Please Note:

The UCAS tariff is changing and a new UCAS Tariff will be used for courses starting from September 2017. Please see for the most up to date information.

Timetable for applying to HE Year 12 / College year 1

  • Request prospectuses online from universities that interest you

  • Research courses and universities carefully

  • Talk to career advisers and teachers about your plans

  • Gain relevant work experience if needed for your course

  • Attend any Taster Days or HE preparation programmes to get an idea of HE

  • Attend university open days and visit colleges that interest you – there might be finance to help

  • Work consistently towards your exams and course work and ask for support if you need it

Timetable for applying to HE Year 13/ College year 2

September If you want to apply to Oxford or Cambridge or for dentistry, medicine and veterinary courses apply now as the
deadline is October

October - January

Apply online for up to five places at
Take time on your application. Ask a teacher or careers adviser to help you.
First deadline for all courses (except some Art & Design courses) is mid-January but your school or college will have an earlier deadline. It is still possible to apply until June 30th BUT your chances of getting a place are reduced.
February - May You will need to decide which offers you want to accept.
You need to choose one firm choice and one insurance choice as a back up.
These offers will be’ unconditional’ or conditional on your exam results. If you get no offers contact UCAS Extra for an additional choice.
Register with Student Finance (online system).
May - July By confirming your offers online at UCAS, if you get the grades, you get the place.
Follow up any accommodation letters/forms
Complete Student Finance forms.
If you get no offers, contact UCAS extra for an additional choice.
August - September Exam results are announced in August.
If you don’t get the grades check with the universities that you have applied to see if they will accept you anyway
Use the UCAS clearing system to apply to courses that still have vacancies.
Phone admissions tutors at universities and colleges to ask about vacancies
Talk to teachers and careers advisers.