A-levels are not the only route to university, says Great Yarmouth College principal

Great Yarmouth College. February 2016. Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth College. February 2016. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A college principal has spoken out to say there are other routes to university after GCSEs.

Stuart Rimmer, principal Yarmouth College

Stuart Rimmer, principal Yarmouth College - Credit: Archant

Stuart Rimmer, from Great Yarmouth College, congratulated GCSE students who received their exam results last week, but stressed A-levels were not the only option for pupils' next steps.

Mr Rimmer said: 'Many students will have been poring over these choices over the last year and have a plan in mind. These are difficult and important choices at 16 so it is important to ensure that all the options are properly considered. With another year's compulsory study ahead, what is the best next step based on your learning style, ambitions and results so far?'

University admissions service UCAS said in January more people were applying to university without the traditional three A-levels. Now 26pc of all new students have a BTec vocational qualification; in 2008 this was just 14pc.

UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said this was 'a shift in the types of qualifications with which many young people are applying to university'.

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And although A-levels were still the most popular route there was 'a very significant minority applying with newer and less traditional qualifications.'

The picture at Great Yarmouth College mirrored this, Mr Rimmer said.

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'A levels are a traditional route but increasingly we are finding more students with the highest grades are opting for Extended BTec Diplomas and NVQs,' he added.

'Employers want employable people with skills, knowledge, practical experience and professional behaviours. Employers rarely complain about a lack of qualifications, they want well-rounded individuals able to think for themselves and be responsible.'

Nearly 200 Great Yarmouth College students gained places at their first choice university this year, despite the college no longer offering A-levels.

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