Award Crest
York College

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade D or above.


This is an 6 unit course over one year. On successful completion of the programme the award is equivalent to 4 GCSEs at grade A-C if Merit and Distinction grades are achieved.

Background to studying a Public Services course at York College

Public Service courses aim to prepare students for entry into the uniformed services, ie Armed Forces, Police, Ambulance, Fire Service, Prison Service and other Community and Emergency 
Service-related organisations. Students get the opportunity to develop their teamwork skills, participate in outdoor and adventurous activities and to broaden their understanding of the fundamental aspects of the Public Services.

Student course information

All students will have access to our virtual learning environment (VLE) entitled 'Blackboard'. The system will contain all the student assignments for the year as well as a student handbook containing hand in dates, attendance and late procedures, details of activities/residentials including kit lists and all contact details for their respective courses. Students are expected to visit 'Blackboard' daily to check for new course information or instructions.

What will I study?

This is an eight unit course and each unit of study will contain on average two assignments for students to complete. Some of these assignments are written in the form of essays or reports and sometimes in the form of newspaper articles. However, some assignments will be practical and may involve demonstrations of the student's level of practical ability, as in map work and navigation or presentations to the rest of their group. The course offers an enjoyable blend of practical activity and theoretical study.

Most of the course is classroom based with two practical units each year, although these may also have some written work. Visits, professional speakers and opportunities to interact with the Public Services are a key component throughout, subject to the operational commitments of the services.

All students will be expected to work towards completion of a GCSE English or Maths qualification (as required) alongside this course to enable progression onto Level 3.

How will I be assessed?

Two units are externally assessed exams set and marked by BTEC. All other assessment is by coursework and is internally devised and marked. Each unit of study has a number of assessment 'grading criteria', which show the student exactly what he/she is required to do to achieve a Pass, Merit or Distinction. The assignments cover these assessment grading criteria in easy to understand tasks set by tutors, and it is these tasks that are identified and marked along with comments by the tutor, usually explaining what is needed to gain a higher grade.

Assessment includes written work, discussion, activities in class, presentations and some practical assessment, mainly individual but including some group work. When all the tasks have been completed an overall grade for the unit is given. For each unit points are awarded for Pass, Merit or Distinction and it is these points when totalled for the complete course which determine if the student will achieve a Pass, Merit or Distinction Diploma.  There are also 2 externally set and marked exams to be taken during the year.


As prospective Uniformed Public Servants who wish to join the Police, Fire and Rescue or the Military etc. Uniformed Public Services students' behaviour will be exemplary at all times, whether in or out of College. They are expected to be courteous to all members of staff and other students and display enthusiasm and a keen 'Public Service Spirit' at all times.
No food or drink may be taken into classrooms.

Attendance and punctuality

Students must have an average attendance of 90 per cent or above on Public Services programmes. Any authorised absences will not count against this and students who do not attend for sickness reasons must notify the College by 08:30 hours on the day of their absence at the latest. Failure to do this will count as an unauthorised absence.

Students are required to be in class at the time their lesson is due to start and any late arrival will count against the students overall attendance. If students are likely to be unavoidably late they should notify their tutor with the reason either by phone or the previous day if able.

Parents/guardians are asked to avoid taking students away on holiday during term time. This is most important as students may be taking part in practical assessments that are difficult to arrange for one student.


Students will be expected to wear uniform at all times when on campus or on visits out of College. This uniform consists of:
- A black polo t-shirt with the College logo on
- Black trousers cleaned and pressed (females may wear a black skirt if they wish)
- Black shoes or trainers.

Personal hygiene

As Uniformed Public Service students take part in physical activities and are often outdoors, it is important that they shower after all activities. Students are expected to bring shower kit, including a towel, to all sports sessions and use them.

Extra equipment

Students are also required to have the following equipment which will be needed at some time during their one or two years at College:

A strong pair of walking boots (not fashion trainers)
One or two pairs of thick walking socks
A waterproof coat
Lesson Materials:
One large ring binder for each year of study for their portfolio work

What could it lead to?

Public Service - the course does not give any privileges in entering any Public Service and you will complete the normal entry procedures in competition with applicants from other backgrounds. However, you should have a good understanding of your chosen service and the skills and knowledge to make a strong application, provided that you also have the necessary personal qualities.
Progression onto the Level 3 Public Service Programme can take place if an over all Merit grade is achieved at Level 2.

Other useful information

Coursework can take 8-12 hours of private study a week. It is important to appreciate the time needed for written coursework. Remember the course is not entirely practical and has a large classroom component.

Students with medical conditions considering a Public Service career should check its entry requirements.

Students, aged over 19 on the 1 September of the year the course commences will be required to pay tuition and assessment fees. If you are in receipt of an income based benefits please ask about financial assistance, which may be available.

Need some help?

If you have any further questions about this course, or would like us to help you with your application, please contact the Schools Liaison team on 01904 770239 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this webpage, the content is subject to change where necessary.

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