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    Advice for Bridges Students

    Brookes Bridges courses are designed to develop your ability to take on further study, this could include taking GCSEs, an Access Course or a Higher Education qualification like a degree. We offer courses with a wide range of partners, they are often delivered in community or college settings.

    What next?

    If you join a Brookes Bridges course you will be given advice and guidance about your next steps. Here is some guidance about next steps that Brookes Bridges students frequently take.

  • Sometimes the next step for Brookes Bridges students is to take English or Maths qualifications.  English and Maths are often required for College and University courses.  It is also sometimes a requirement for jobs.  If you do not have a GCSE grade C or above in these subjects or an equivalent level 2 qualification (such as Functional Skills) it might be a good idea to apply for this kind of course.

    Most Colleges and some private training providers offer English and Maths for adults. They may offer GCSEs or sometimes functional skills qualifications.  These courses are normally offered on a part time basis and may be available during the day or on an evening.  If you are interested in GCSE courses, these will typically begin in September and finish in the following June.  Functional Skills courses may have different start dates as the exams can be taken at any time of year.  

    A College or training provider may ask you to complete a language or numeracy test if you apply for a Maths or English course. They will do this to see which course you’d be best suited to.  Sometimes, it might be recommended that you take an entry level or level one course before attempting Functional Skills at level two or a GCSE.  This will help you to build up your knowledge, skills and confidence before you

    Individual universities will set their own English and Maths requirements for courses.  If you are thinking of going to university, it’s best to check on UCAS what is required for your preferred course.

    The cost of English and Maths courses will vary based on your own personal circumstances and the fee policy of the provider that you chose.  If you don’t already hold GCSEs at grade C or above in English or Maths and you are eligible for funding, you may be able to take this course free or charge.

    You may be able to study an English course such as ESOL which is specially designed for anyone learning English as a second language.  A course provider such as a College, may ask you to complete a test so they can see which level of course they should put you on initially.  ESOL courses are typically taught up to level 2.  Depending on the content of your ESOL course, some students may then progress to complete Secure English Language tests such as IELTs.  Some students may opt to complete a GCSE in English.  You should talk to your preferred provider about your eligibility for their ESOL courses, some courses may be delivered free of charge- eligibility is likely to depend on your residency status and age.

    Secure English Language Tests are accepted by UK universities. If you are thinking of going to university, it’s best to check on UCAS what qualifications/point scores are required for your preferred course.  It is typical for students to pay a fee for a SELT.

    More information on secure English Language Tests.

    Access to Higher Education Diplomas are equivalent to three A levels.  They take one year to complete full time, part time options may be available.  The diplomas are designed for adult students looking to pursue specific University courses.  For example, a diploma title Access to Health Professions is likely to offer a route to allied Health courses such as Nursing and Midwifery.  A database of available Access courses is available at .  Alongside your studies, Access providers will support you to make university applications.

    Entry requirements for Access courses will differ by the provider, some may ask that you have a full level 2 (5 GCSEs or equivalent). Some may require you to have English and Maths at level 2.  Some providers may offer an Access diploma at level 2 (sometimes called pre-access), this course often takes one year and will prepare you for an Access Diploma if you need to complete studies at level 2 first.

    Access courses at level 3 often have a course fee, if you are over the age of 19 and meet other eligibility criteria (e.g. residency) you may be able to access and Advanced Learning Loan to pay the course fee.  

    If you are ready to go to University you can research courses through the UCAS website, University websites and Unistats also hold lots of relevant information.  You should check that you meet the course entry criteria.  Sometimes for adult learners, a university may be prepared to waive some entry criteria or recognise relevant previous experience.  This is sometimes called Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    If you think you have relevant experience or would like to be considered for an admissions test, you need to look at the guidance on the university website or on UCAS about their policy for recognising previous experience.  If you are applying through UCAS, make sure you thoroughly explain your background.  

    Guidance about how to apply for mature students is available here.

    If you have completed qualifications outside of the UK it is important that you understand what they are equivalent to in the UK. Some qualifications are listed on the UCAS tariff.  

    A university, college or employer may ask for you to get a UK NARIC Statement of comparability for a qualification obtained abroad.  This will allow them to consider whether your previous studies meet course entry criteria.  They may also require translations of original certificates or transcripts.

    Unfortunately, if you do not have original certificates, it may be difficult to ascertain their equivalence or verify that you hold the qualification.  If you have partially completed a qualification it’s best to obtain a transcript of credit or an exit award from your previous institution.

    Guidance on how to obtain a NARIC statement is available here.  NARIC charge fees for this service.

  • Case Study

    Having completed her Access to HE Diploma Amanda is now studying on the BSc Computing at Brookes and works part-time at the University. A single mum to a teenage son, Amanda is also a guider for her faculty.

    I did two Brookes Bridges courses. The first one was an IT course at EMBS this gave me confidence and I really enjoyed this course. The teacher was very helpful and really encouraged me. Then he got me in touch with Sobia. I was guided by Sobia all the way, I met her so many times. I am so grateful for all her support, she looked at what I needed to do next and suggested the IELTS course which I did. Then I did the Access course at Activate.

  • Examples of courses

    IT course in your community level 2/3

    The Course aims are to: raise the levels of understanding about Higher Education study options and progression routes.

    These classes are specifically for people, who want to further enhance their IT Office and employability skills; they will also be for those who want to progress to full time Higher Education like the Brookes Bridges Programme, which offers free short courses for adult learners.

    Students on this class will be required to have already completed the Level 1 Microsoft Office Courses.

    This course really helped me a great deal. I gained IT knowledge, also confidence within myself to apply for a course at the local college where I am doing a Access course.


    Personnel Development planning course

    Goal and target setting

    Looking at your existing skills and experiences and investigating how these can be used to help you reach your life goals. Using a journal and vision board to help visualise your goals.

    Creating a positive life plan to help you manifest achievements that can be truly life changing.

    Previous students who have completed the course have successfully returned to education, training, volunteering and employment and have found the skills they gained to be very valuable tools for setting new goals and staying on track for life.

    Taking part in this course really helped me to realise that I do have skills that can be used to help me move forward in a positive way. Being given the chance to actually spend time thinking about what I want and how to get there has been invaluable in helping me reach my goals.


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