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Information for parents

This information aims to answer any questions you may have about your son or daughter’s next steps into Further Education.

Choosing what’s next

As a parent or carer it can be very confusing when it comes to helping your child make that all-important decision on their next step in education.

Choosing to stay on at school, going to college, picking the right qualifications and subject area, and wondering whether it will lead to the right sort of career are all legitimate concerns that every parent worries about.

Performance tables

View our 16-18 performance table .

See also schools and colleges national performance tables .

Special consideration in exams - JCQ regulations

Please view this booklet provided by JCQ.

Frequently asked questions

  • What’s the difference between A Levels and BTECs?

    A Levels are academic qualifications which see learners choose 3-4 specific subjects to study over a period of two years. Subjects are usually chosen to suit an individual’s career or Higher Education goals.

    BTECs are vocational courses which take a more hands-on approach to learning, equipping students with specific industry skills for the workplace.

    Both course types are equally recognised by employers and universities and have been designed to give students a fully-rounded experience, which will ensure they move confidently onto their next steps.

    We offer both A Levels and BTECs.

  • Is it now law that my son or daughter has to stay in school until they are 18?

    In 2013, the age of compulsory education rose to 18. The intention of this move was to tackle the problem of young people leaving school unskilled and unprepared for the world of work.

    Young people can choose to stay at school, go to college, become an apprentice or be in employment with training.

  • Will my son’s/daughter’s attendance at college affect our state benefit?

    No, your child attending full-time study should not affect your Child Benefit or Family Tax Credit, but you should inform the appropriate authorities once your child moves from school to college.

  • How is college different from school?

    At West Notts we place more emphasis on a comprehensive education experience and ensure that our students’ time is enhanced with learning outside of the classroom. This might include work placements, visits to the industry the students hope to work in, talks from experts and specialists in their subject area and trips and visits that enhance the overall learning experience.

    As well as professional teaching backgrounds, our teachers have industry-relevant experience – meaning our students are taught by people who’ve been there, seen it and done it. By coming from an industry-specific background, tutors are able to bring their working knowledge into the classroom.

    We pride ourselves on the pastoral support we offer, which includes a personal teacher to guide students through their studies, support coaches, a careers team, a health and welfare team and a Students’ Union.

  • How will I keep up-to-date with my son’s/daughter’s progress?

    We will send you a written report twice a year and you will be invited to two parent evenings a year (these usually take place November and February) where you can meet the tutors and hear about his/her progress. We are here for you throughout the year, do not wait for an event if you are concerned or need guidance. We will be pleased to arrange a meeting for you to come and talk to us about any concerns and provide you with further progress information.

  • How do you monitor the quality of teaching?

    Every teacher is observed by their Head of Department. We also provide the opportunity for peer observations so that teachers can observe and share best practice with their colleagues. Some of our awarding bodies also monitor teaching and learning when they visit.

  • What are the entry requirements for college?

    Each course has its own entry requirements. We offer a variety of qualifications at different levels, so we have something to suit all abilities. You’ll find more information on our course types page.

  • What happens if my son/daughter doesn’t achieve the grades required for the course they have applied for?

    Don’t worry! An advisor will speak to your child and advise them of their options. If they don’t achieve the required grades, we can usually offer an alternative at a lower level.

  • My son/daughter had support at school – will they get support at college?

    Yes, the additional learning support team (ALS) offers support, advice and guidance for students with a wide range of learning needs or disabilities. For more information visit the additional learning support page.

  • Why are courses given a ‘level’?

    By giving all courses a level, it allows students to compare different qualifications according to how advanced they are. There are nine levels in total, from Entry-level to Level 8. The courses in the full-time prospectus (aimed at 16-19 year olds) range from Entry-level up to Level 3. Courses that are Level 4 and above are considered to be university-level qualifications.

  • What support will my child receive?

    As a student at West Notts, your child will have access to a comprehensive range of monitoring and support.

    The support coaches at college offer free and impartial advice to anyone who needs it on issues including bullying, sexual health, motivation and accommodation.

    The Students’ Union is active throughout the academic year, providing opportunities to take part in fundraising for charity and fun activities organised by the site president.

    There is the opportunity for all students to become course representatives to speak for their area with Learner Voice – this is a great chance for students to get involved in college politics and push for positive changes that their peers want to see. Again, this is valuable, CV-enhancing experience that we encourage our students to get involved with.

  • What library and IT facilities do you have?

    The college has a large learning resource centre at the main Derby Road campus, and smaller resources available at our other sites. Books, DVDs, newspapers and magazines are available to borrow and computers can be used for college work or the internet. Specialist software is available for those with learning needs and staff can provide support if your child needs help with research or accessing information.

  • What catering facilities do you provide?

    Most of our campuses have a diner, refectory and/or vending machines for students to use. Hot meals and snacks are available at the Construction Centre, Derby Road and the Engineering Innovation Centre.

  • My son/daughter is not sure which course they would like to do. Who can help?

    The college has a careers and employability team who deliver professional and impartial advice and guidance that aims to help individuals make informed, considered and timely decisions about their education, training and employment.

    Careers advice and guidance is designed as a comprehensive support package to compliment the student journey from pre enrolment through to progression from college and beyond. Find out more on our careers advice page.

  • Can my son/daughter do more than one course?

    It is not possible to study more than one full-time course at the same time. Students who choose to study A Levels can take up to four A Level subjects or choose to study two A Level subjects and a vocational qualification.

  • What financial support is available for students?

    The college is committed to doing everything we can for students to allow them to attend college free from financial worries.

    The Government will be making additional funding available to colleges to support students who have difficulty in attending college because of financial considerations. This includes a 16-18 Guaranteed Bursary and 16-18 Student Support Fund. For detailed information please visit the financial support page.

    We hope to be able to use the expanded fund to provide additional grants or bursaries where there are situations of hardship.

    Help with childcare and the cost of study materials and equipment will also be available to those who meet the funding criteria.

    If you require any further information please call us on:

  • My son/daughter is really interested in applying for a course – how do they apply?

    The many ways to apply for a place on a college course:

    • Apply online - find a course you are interested in and click the apply online link.
    • Come along to our next open event and apply.
    • Come in to any West Notts College reception and our customer enquiries team will help you complete an application.
  • Where can I find out more?

    At West Notts we hold regular Parents’ Information Evenings which gives you the opportunity to speak to senior management about the college and the courses we offer, as well as find out about practical information on finance, learning and personal support available to your child once they start a course with us. If you have any questions about these opportunities, please call the learner engagement team on 0808 100 3626, or email

  • What steps are in place to protect young people at college?

    We take the safety and security of our students very seriously indeed. We have robust and well-documented processes for keeping students safe, and have a zero tolerance of any form of bullying whether that be in person or online.

    Safeguarding is the term used to describe activities that help make our students safe and free from home in college and in their lives outside of college. All staff has a responsibility for safeguarding, which means they all need to have an awareness of health and safety, and be able to identify and report concerns about students if they feel they are subject to abuse.

    Prevent is a strand of the government’s counter terrorism strategy. As a college, we have an integral part to play in helping to help prevent terrorism, and protect young people who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

    Our staff are fully trained in the Prevent strategy and are expected to uphold and promote the fundamental principles of British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

    If you have any concerns, and would like to speak to a member of staff, please call 0808 100 3626.

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Why choose West Notts?

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96.2% A Level pass rate in 2022.

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction.**Learner Exit Survey 2019/20

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We offer a flexible and cost-effective travel pass to all students and apprentices.

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We have four campuses each boasting a number of state-of-the-art facilities.

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