Award Crest
York College


Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including English Language (grade 4) or any Level 2 Diploma in a relevant subject at Merit grade and including English GCSE. Students will normally be enrolled onto the first year of the programme and then progress onto the second year once the first year is successfully completed. If you do not have Maths GCSE grade C (grade 4) you will be expected to complete this qualification alongside your course.


BTEC 90 Credit Diploma in Public Services (9 units) - One Year
BTEC Extended Diploma in Public Services (18 units) - Two Years

Students will normally be enrolled onto the first year of the programme and then progress onto the second year once the first year is successfully completed. The enrolment also allows students to choose the ‘pathway’ and length of programme that best suits them.

The Extended Diploma (18 unit programme), on successful completion, is the equivalent to 3 A Levels 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, Fire Service, Prison Service and other Community and Emergency Service-related organisations. Students get the opportunity to build their teamwork skills, 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, 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?

Year 1 units may include: Government Policies, Leadership and Teamwork, Citizenship, Fitness Testing for Uniformed Services, International Institution and Human Rights.

Year 2 units will depend on the career pathway of the students enrolled onto the programme. The teaching team will focus the delivered units on the progression opportunities available, i.e. university or employment. Units include Law and the Legal System, Disaster Planning and Management of Major Incidents. 

As a course equivalent to A Levels, the workload can be demanding and coursework requirements can be intense at times. Most of the course is classroom based, although these may also have some practical 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.

How will I be assessed?

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 in future assignments.

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.


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.

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.

Students may wish to progress to the BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma in Public Services, or the BTEC Level 5 Diploma in Public Services offered at York College.

University - some Public Service students have continued in higher education following degree courses such as Criminology, Policing, Business, Sports, Disaster Management, Law, IT, Youth and Social Studies, etc. 

Employment - you will be in the same position as other college leavers with 2-3 A Levels and equipped with a range of personal and vocational skills to apply for jobs in the public sector. You will also develop key transferable skills that may help you help secure jobs in other fields, such as business, retail, leisure and recreation, etc.

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 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.

52% Triple Distinctions in 2016



James Cooper

Formerly of Canon Lee School

James began his York College journey on the Uniformed Public Services Subsidiary Diploma Level 3, with a goal of becoming a police officer.

Upon completeing the course,concerned that university costs would leave him in debt, James moved into Higher Education at York College studying the Foundation Degree in Community and Public Services, before topping up to a BA (Hons) in Public Sector Management.

He said: "I gained communication, initiative and leadership skills and received a well-rounded educational experience that ticked all the boxes."

James progressed to a Master's Degree at York's College of Law, with an end goal of becoming a solicitor.

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