Introduction to Further and Higher Education

Here’s all the information you need about further education and the different levels involved

What is Further Education?

Further Education otherwise known as FE became compulsory in 2014 for students to continue the progression of education until their 18th birthday. The student usually aged around 16+ gets a choice to either stay at school or choose sixth form in a college or institution of their choosing.

The Different types of FE ?

A Levels -By far the most common form of FE, this is what you’re most likely to study if you stay in school for sixth form.

Art Foundation Diploma Course
This is a BTEC vocational course that is for school leavers wishing to either test the water and see if they like studying art or is for students who are certain that they want to do a BA in fine art.

BTEC Nationals
BTEC Nationals, otherwise known as The Business and Technology Education Council qualification, are overseen by Pearson.  For students who want to hone practical skills and theory simultaneously while being tested, largely, by continuous assessment, they are an ideal choice.

Many people will know BTEC Highers by the acronym HNC, Higher National Certificate and HND, Higher National Diploma.

National Vocational Qualifications in the past have received bad press, but they do what they say on the tin and are excellent vocational qualifications for certain fields.

Technical Baccalaureate (TechBac)
Newly introduced in 2014, the TechBac are practical, vocational, courses run by the City and Guilds aimed at 16-19-year-olds wanting technical qualifications and soft skills.

University Technical College (UTC)
There are several alternatives to mainstream school. University Technical Colleges and TechBac provide courses which are taught at local colleges. These may suit students looking for traditional academic learning combined with practical skills. A certain number of previous qualifications such as a GCSE or BTEC are required to be eligible for enrolment.

Levels of FE

As well as A-levels or Scottish Highers, there are a huge number of further education (FE) courses you can do. You can take an FE course at technical colleges, Colleges of Further Education (CFE), and Adult and Community Colleges.

You can take level 2 and 3 courses to specialise in a specific technical job. Many of the courses are part-time or short. You can also look in to apprenticeships, these offer the ability to gain experience whilst get qualified and you also get paid for the duration of your course/work placement.



Certificate of Higher Education (Level 4) (First Year of Bachelor’s Degree)

This is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom and is awarded after one year of full-time study (or equivalent) at a university or other higher education institution, or two years of part-time study. It is an independent tertiary award; an award in its own right. 

Foundation Degree/Diploma of Higher Education (Level 5) (Second Year of Bachelor’s Degree)

A foundation degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification in higher education, equivalent to two thirds of an honors bachelor’s degree.

A Diploma of Higher Education is a higher education qualification awarded after two years of full-time study at a university or other higher education institution, or four years of part-time study 

Bachelor’s degree (Level 6) (Third Year of Bachelor’s Degree)

This is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years (depending on institution and academic discipline). In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor’s degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed.

An honors degree generally requires a higher academic standard than a non-honors/pass degree, and in some systems an additional year of study beyond the non-honors bachelor’s.



Master’s Degree (Level 7)

This is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. It normally requires previous study at the bachelor’s level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. 

PhD/Professional Doctorate (Level 8)

This is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities. Because it is an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field. A PhD qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree’s field, or to work in a specific profession.

Further Education

Further Education – local education centres

Boston College –

Brooks and Kirk –

Boston High School –

Riseholme College –

Grimsby Institute –

Higher Education

Higher Education – local education centres

Boston College –

Lincoln University –

Riseholme College –

North Lindsey College –