DESC Careers Information, Advice and Guidance Service

Isle of Man Guidelines Level 3 Course Entry

There are no catchment areas for post 16 education. Schools cater for 16 to 18 year old students following Level 3 courses (A levels, I A Levels, BTEC Level 3 qualifications etc). Although not the norm, 18 year old learners are occasionally able to continue their further education in schools for one more year under very specific circumstances and only by agreement of the Headteacher of the school.

UCM caters for 16 to 18 year old students engaging with learning at Level 3 and linked more specifically to employment sectors on Island.

Level 3 courses offered by DESC Secondary schools and UCM

Schools offer a range of Level 3 qualifications including A Levels and BTECs. Details of these options for individual schools can be obtained from the sixth form areas on the schools websites:

Ballakermeen High School

Castle Rushen High School

Queen Elizabeth II High School

Ramsey Grammar School

St Ninian’s High School

Schools / UCM may work in collaboration to provide a broader offer that increases opportunities for learners at Level 3.

At UCM, Level 3 Vocational Qualifications are offered in the following subjects:

These qualifications range in size but can form the full curriculum of a UCM student who wishes to specialize in one area. Successful completion of these larger qualifications can then support access to higher education (HNC, HND, Degree courses) in that area of employment.

There are many opportunities for further study at UCM. Find out more here.

Minimum entry requirement for Level 3 study

The minimum requirement for Level 3 study at DESC schools and UCM is usually five level 2 passes including English Language and/or Maths but preferably both.

Specific subjects at Level 3 may have additional entry requirements(eg A Level Maths, A level Science subjects etc) to ensure that students undertaking these courses are likely to be successful in their learning. These additional requirements are linked to the depth and breadth of learning at Level 2.

In addition candidates for Level 3 study should have a Record of Achievement that indicates strengths in their approaches to managing their learning and working both independently and as part of groups.


Although the minimum requirement for entry to Level 3 courses is the same across all schools/UCM it is still at the discretion of the individual school/UCM as students will only be admitted on courses where they are likely to be successful.

If a student undertakes Level 3 study without a Level 2 pass in either English Language or Maths they will be expected to retake and pass this alongside their Level 3 studies.

All potential entrants for Level 3 study will be interviewed by the school/UCM with the processes adopted by schools/UCM being designed to assess individual student’s suitability for level 3 study in particular subjects.

Interview processes for Level 3 study will typically include reference to the following:

  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Attitude to learning
  • Onward pathways
  • Self Motivation/Commitment to study in and out of school
  • The Employability/Learning skills highlighted in Year 11 ROA Personal Statements(ie Teamworking, Communication, Problem Solving, Self Awareness, Ability to Learn, Resilience) will also form an integral part of this interview process and students attending interviews for Level 3 courses should bring with them their completed Record of Achievement (and their statement of results if the interview is after results days).


Some students applying for Level 3 courses will have had exam access arrangements in place during KS4 in line with school provision to accommodate their Special Educational Need (eg Dyslexia, ASC, ADHD etc)

It is important that during any interview for Level 3 courses that the school/UCM is made aware of this by the student so that their learning requirements can be discussed (including what the student knows works well for them as an independent learner) so appropriate arrangements can be considered prior to the student starting their Level 3 courses.

Access arrangements may be different for Level 3 study because of the nature of these courses and students may need to be re-assessed for exam access arrangement at the start of their post 16 studies.

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Qualifications and Entry Levels Guidelines for entry onto Level 3 courses