Newcastle Sixth Form College Diploma

Last updated
Last verified

Currently Newcastle Sixth Form College, Newcastle upon Tyne


To recognise the wider knowledge, skills, and understanding students gain as part of their A level study programme, specifically those covered by the Common Inspection Framework, such as employability skills and personal development, which means they respect others and contribute to wider society. These are obtained through punctual attendance, participation in the tutorial programme, self-reflection of own learning goals, participation in a variety of general and subject specific enrichment activities, and an understanding of the range of other transferable skills which are being developed.

Education context

Study programmes for 16 – 19 year olds were introduced for delivery from September 2013, based on both qualification and non-qualification activity, based around the needs of individual learners.

Awarding providers
  • Newcastle Sixth Form College
  1. NSFC Green award
  2. NSFC Blue award
  3. NSFC Gold award
  4. NSFC Platinum award 
Subject areas

1. NSFC Green award:

  • 85% attendance
  • Meet at least one of your initial target grades
  • Complete Wednesday afternoon enrichment in at least two categories: Active, Creative, Service, and Skills
  • Participate in subject enrichment activities in one of your A level subjects
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Prioritising
  • Presenting a positive personal image
  • Working to deadlines

2. NSFC Blue award:

  • 90% attendance
  • Meet at least two of your initial target grades
  • Complete Wednesday afternoon enrichment in at least three categories: Active, Creative, Service and Skills
  • Participate in subject enrichment activities in two of your A level subjects
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Being assertive
  • Working on own initiative
  • Self-reliance
  • Time management

3. NSFC Gold award:

  • 95% attendance
  • Meet at least one of your aspirational target grades
  • Complete internal and external enrichment in all four categories: Active, Creative, Service and Skills
  • Participate in subject enrichment activities in 3 of your A level subjects
  • Identifying and evaluating options
  • Action planning
  • Team-working
  • Investigating and researching
  • Giving and accepting constructive criticism

4. NSFC Platinum award:

  • 100% attendance
  • Meet at least two of your aspirational target grades
  • In addition to completing internal and external enrichment in at least 3 categories, make a significant contribution to NSFC and/or the local community
  • Participate in and help organise subject specific enrichment activities
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Lateral thinking
  • Verbal communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Decision-making
  1. Attendance and punctuality are key employability skills
  2. Students use feedback and aspirational target grades to reflect on their progress and next steps
  3. Students are encouraged to take part in a variety of enrichment activities, both those timetabled by the organisation and those they organise themselves
  4. Throughout the year opportunities are provided for subject-specific enrichment activities which support progression to HE
  5. A wide range of employability skills are developed both through academic learning activities, enrichment, and other activities
  • Level 3

Designed for Level 3 students, the NSFC Diploma runs alongside A levels.


The NSFC Diploma is awarded at four colours which are linked to the college logo. Achieving a more advanced level does not depend on having achieved the previous level and students can choose which level they want to work towards. For element 5, however, skills are cumulative, so a student working on the Blue Award must also demonstrate they have mastered the Green Level skills.


Students will be assessed on statistical evidence for components 1 – 4 and a portfolio of evidence collected throughout the year for component 5. Portfolios will be moderated by staff experienced in the internal verification process against a minimum pass standard appropriate for a Level 3 study programme.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All components must be achieved for each level to be awarded.

Resit arrangements

Evidence will be assessed once a year towards the end of the spring term and feedback provided. Students can continue to work to achieve a specific level until the end of each academic year. At the start of Year 2 of the study programme, a student can revisit a level which was not achieved, or move to the next level.

Programme size

The NSFC Diploma recognises the following qualification hours:

  • 150hrs for each A level subject
  • 70hrs of tutorial activity
  • 40hrs of college based enrichment
Key issues for UK HE admissions

A study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills [i] highlighted lack of self-confidence as the main contributory factor in students dropping out of university (BIS, March 2014 p. 25).

The NSFC Diploma encourages students to look beyond their subject-specific skills, and think about what makes a successful learner and the importance of developing a wide range of transferable skills. Through the tutorial programme students have the opportunity to improve their general knowledge and understanding of society as a whole. Through the wide enrichment offer students are encouraged to develop new skills (which may be active, creative, or subject-related), take part in volunteering activities, and contribute to the wider life of college. It is our belief that this will better equip students, especially those from widening participation backgrounds, for both progression to HE and employment.

[i] BIS Research Paper 168 Learning from Futuretrack: Dropout from Higher Education Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, March 2014.

Timing of assessments and results

Awards will be made in the summer term at the end of Year 12 and Year 13.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is new and current.

Certification information

In-house certification.

Progression information

The NSFC Diploma supports students in their progression to higher education.