DESC Careers Information, Advice and Guidance Service

Isle of Man Guidelines Level 3 Course Entry

There are no catchment areas for post 16 education on the Isle of Man.

School Sixth Forms cater for 16 to 18 year old students following Level 3 courses (A levels, I A Levels, some BTEC Level 3 qualifications).

University College Isle of Man (UCM) caters for 16 to 18 year old students and adult learners following Level 3 courses. Although these courses are more closely linked employment sectors they are also supportive of progression on to Higher Education courses and other specific professional learning.

Minimum entry requirements for Level 3 study

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

Entry requirements for qualifications that are assessed mainly through examinations at the end of two years study such as A levels, are based on evidence that the student has performed well in this type of end of course assessment during KS4 (ie strong GCSE/IGCSE passes in these or related subjects). Specific subjects at A level will have additional entry requirements (eg A Level Mathematics entry requirement is usually an A* or A from a higher tier entry at GCSE).

The specific requirements for the study of A level courses are linked to the depth and breadth of learning at Level 2, as well as the suitability of external examinations as a way for an individual learner to be able to demonstrate their subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills.

Generally entry onto courses that are assessed through ongoing written assessments with some smaller examinations throughout the two years, such as BTEC Level 3 qualifications, require evidence that the student can manage their workload effectively, and engage with, and respond positively to, specific assessment criteria.

Strong performance in GCSE/IGCSE coursework/controlled assessment elements, or in other Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) such as BTECs or SQAs during Key Stage 4 are usually an indicator that students enrolling on BTEC and other similar Level 3 courses are likely to be successful.

Level 3 courses offered by DESC Secondary schools and UCM

Schools offer a range of Level 3 qualifications (mainly A Levels with some BTEC Level 3 qualifications). Details of the qualifications that each school offers and specific entry requirements can be obtained from the sixth form areas on the individual school websites:

Ballakermeen High School

Castle Rushen High School

Queen Elizabeth II High School

Ramsey Grammar School

St Ninian’s High School

At University College Isle of Man, Level 3 Technical and Vocational Qualifications are offered to post 16 and adult learners in the following areas:

Animal and Land Management

Art and Design

Business, Finance and Administration


Digital Administration and Technology


Forensic Science and Criminology

Health and Social Care

Media and Music


These qualifications can range in size but normally form the full curriculum of a UCM student who wishes to specialize. Successful completion of these qualifications can support progression on to either Higher Education or employment in that sector.

Unlike school sixth forms there are opportunities for students to follow Further Education courses at Levels 1,2 and 3 at UCM. Find out more about the full range of courses here.

In addition candidates for Level 3 study at either a school sixth form or should have a Record of Experience 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.

Alongside meeting the grade requirements for specific courses at that specific sixth form or UCM the 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 Lifelong Learning skills highlighted in Year 11 ROE 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