Welcome to the St Helena Community College

Higher Education

Getting ready for Higher Education

What’s available to help you prepare for higher education?

Consider Access to Higher Education Diplomas, A level courses and OU Badged Courses to help you prepare for university study or build your knowledge and skills in a specific area.

If you are interested in university studies but aren’t sure if you’re ready, there are opportunities for your to prepare at SHCC.  Consider the options below as you plan your future.


Access to Higher Education Diploma

Accredited at Level 3 (Equivalent to up to 3 A levels)

60 credits – Most can be completed in one year

The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is a qualification designed for mature applicants that prepares students for study at degree level. If you would like to go to university but left school without the qualifications you need, then an Access to HE course could be for you.  There is no upper-age limit for Access to HE courses, and many don’t have any formal entry requirements.  SHCC requires 3 years of work experience for Access to HE candidates.  These courses are offered through online distance learning.


A Levels – Accredited at Level 3

Requires one to two years, depending on preparation

A levels are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. Unlike access courses, A levels usually have specific GCSE requirements for entry.  For mature students without Level 3 qualifications, Access to HE courses may be more manageable than undertaking two or three A level courses.  A level courses are offered through an online, distance learning platform.  Students access their courses and tutor through the IT facilities at SHCC.


Open University Badged Courses

24 hours long, spread over 8 weeks; progress at your own pace

No formal credit is awarded but learners earn a digital badge

Open University badged courses were developed in response to the needs of informal learners who are seeking access to study skills and to have their learning recognised.  These online courses help build skills and confidence in preparation for higher education studies as well as building knowledge and skills in specific subject areas.  SHCC strongly recommends specific Badged Courses for anyone who plans to start degree studies through the Open University.  Learners access these courses through SHCC’s IT facilities.

Available courses

Access to Higher Education Diplomas

  • Biomedical Science
  • Business with Law
  • Business with English
  • Business with Finance
  • Childhood Studies
  • Construction
  • English (Humanities)
  • Health Professions (Health)
  • Health Professions (Science)
  • Health & Social Care
  • Law & Legal Professions
  • Midwifery (Health Professions)
  • Midwifery (Nursing and Midwifery)
  • Nursing (Health Professions)
  • Nursing (Nursing and Midwifery)
  • Paramedicine
  • Physiotherapy (Health Professions)
  • Physiotherapy (Science)
  • Psychology (Health Professions)
  • Psychology (Social Science)
  • Public Services
  • Science
  • Social Science
  • Social Work
  • Sports Science
  • Teaching & Education Professions (English)
  • Teaching & Education Professions (Science)
  • Teaching Primary (English)
  • Teaching Primary (Science)

A Levels

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English Language and Literature
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

Open University Badged Courses

  • Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world
  • English: skills for learning
  • Leadership and followership
  • Succeed in the workplace
  • Succeed with learning
  • Taking your first steps into higher education
  • Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
  • Exploring sport coaching and psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • The science of nutrition and healthy eating
  • Understanding mental capacity
  • Developing career resilience
  • Managing my money for young adults
  • Can renewable energy sources power the world?
  • Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online
  • Smart cities
  • Succeed with maths – Part 1
  • Succeed with maths – Part 2
  • Working in the voluntary sector
  • The digital scholar
  • Facilitating learning in practice
  • Succeeding in postgraduate study
  • Returning to STEM


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