As a Senior School pupil you have a huge range of options available to you when it comes to employment, training, further education and higher education.
- Study part-time with us whilst staying on at school through our School College Links Programme;
- Apply for a full-time course of your choice (or if you are a 'winter school leaver' apply for Exceptional Entry to a course of your choice);
- Come along to a College Experience taster;
- Enrol on a Foundation Apprenticeship programme.
School College Links Programme
If you don’t feel ready to leave school yet, don’t worry, you can get the best of both worlds! Did you know that as a school pupil in the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence, you can choose to study part-time School College Links course at College and stay on at school for another year?
North East Scotland College has teamed up with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council to ensure that you can access a wide range of part-time College courses as part of your school timetable. These courses include City & Guilds Awards, National Certificates, Skills for Work Awards and Highers. You can also choose from a wide range of subjects, including:
These course options mean that you can study for school qualifications whilst also working towards a qualification here at College, where the courses are designed specifically to provide you with key skills needed for employment, or for moving on to Further or Higher Education.
How to apply
Each School College Links Programme course has a dedicated webpage where you will find all of the information you need to make a decision about the course you’d like to enrol on. You will find information on entry requirements, what the course will involve and at the bottom of each page you will find availability information – this outlines where and when the course will take place.
You are required to apply for a School College Links Programme course along with your Guidance Teacher at school, who – once registered – will be provided with access to the School Links Portal on the NESCol website. The School Links Portal can then be used to fill in your information and process your course application.
The application process is an online system that can be accessed by school staff. Your Guidance Teacher, Careers Adviser or a Depute Head will usually make the application on your behalf. You will be expected to support this process and provide an explanation as to why you want to take the course you have chosen.
What happens next?
After your application is submitted, your school will be sent an automated email to confirm the application. Your school will be able to follow the progress of your application, log a query or withdraw your application if necessary.
It can be a big decision, deciding whether or not to come to College. Exceptional Entry is for young people whose date of birth requires them to remain in school until the winter break and is a fantastic option for those who are ready to leave school, and take the next step in their education.
If your 16th birthday falls between 1st October and 28th/29th February, you would be eligible to start certain full-time, non-advanced courses at North East Scotland College from August, even though you are still officially a school pupil.
Between August and the winter break in December, your school would be regularly informed of your attendance and progress, but to all intents and purposes you would be a full-time student at North East Scotland College. If however you found that College wasn’t quite right for you, you still have the option of returning to school anytime over that period.
Frequently Asked Questions about Exceptional Entry
How do I decide what to do?
You should discuss your application for Full-time Exceptional Entry with your school Guidance Teacher or a Careers Adviser in the first instance. They will be able to help you browse our course options in order to find a course that might interest you.
You can also come into College to discuss your options with one of our Student Advisers. You can arrange a pre-entry guidance appointment by getting in touch with the Student Advice Centre. You are welcome to take a parent or carer with you to an appointment.
How do I apply?
You can apply for any full-time course at North East Scotland College via our website. You will find information on all of our courses, along with an application form which you can submit online. Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form. You can download a copy from our website, pick one up from the Student Advice Centre or use the one issued in our Full-time Prospectus.
What happens then?
Your application form will not be processed until we have obtained confirmation that your school is in agreement with your application for Exceptional Entry to College. As soon as your school confirms, your application will be processed just like all other applications. You may be invited to attend an interview before being offered a place on your chosen course.
What about parental consent?
Because Exceptional Entry means that you are under the age of 16, your parent or carer will be required to complete a parental consent form, authorising you to enrol at College. This form will be sent out to them in a separate letter, and you will not be allowed to attend College until it has been returned.
What if I change my mind?
If you start attending College but change your mind, and decide that you don’t want to continue, your education is still the responsibility of your local authority until your legal school leaving date. Therefore, you will be required to return to school until you are legally permitted to leave.
Please note that your school will be asked to provide consent for you application to be considered.
If you would like to apply for Exceptional Entry, you can have a look at our range of full-time courses to see what your options are.
The College Experience has been designed to provide you with the opportunity to attend a short course at a nearby campus. The main aim of this taster programme is to help you plan your future educational path, try out a subject area that interests you and to help you consider College courses you might consider applying for after leaving school.
Foundation Apprenticeships are a new opportunity for Senior Phase pupils developed by Skills Development Scotland, in conjunction with Sector Skills Councils. They are offered by North East Scotland College in partnership with local industry partners. Combining contextualised work-based learning and classroom-based learning, these programmes have been designed to meet the needs of young people whilst being responsive to the needs of the regional labour market.
Starting in S5, this 2 year programme combines course work and extended work experience to lead to an exciting new industry recognised qualification at SCQF Level 6 (the same level as a Higher).
This new national qualification will support access to College, University or the workplace, depending on what suits each individual. By taking part in this blended experience, pupils will be well-equipped with industry standard skills and core knowledge, whilst becoming better prepared to make the transition from school into whatever their chosen next step might be.