Diplomas and Baccalaureate programmes are almost like qualification ‘wrappers’. They often combine the usual technical or academic qualifications students would undertake, with additional formal qualifications or skills courses. By doing so, they improve students’ chances of getting into university, getting a job or finding an apprenticeship. Therefore, it is a really good idea for students to consider taking their qualifications within one of these wrappers. This is particularly true for students who already know which career or sector they want to go into, especially if it is something technical.

Flatlay of an open book, pen, laptop and coffee on a table

It should be noted that these programmes are only offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland’s education system works entirely differently that of the rest of the UK although independent schools may offer some alternatives such as the IB.

There is relatively little information out there about these types of courses and they can seem very confusing. However, if your son or daughter knows which educational path they want to take, choosing between these courses is relatively simple.

These course can be roughly divided into three main categories: those that are academically focused, those that are vocational and those that combine the two. Over the age of 16, where there is much more choice, the main academic options are the IB or the Pre-U Diploma; the main vocational option is the TechBacc and all other choices are combination of academic qualifications and work-based skills. To find out which options are offered by your local schools, see the government’s database.

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