Frequently Asked Questions


What are the College’s term dates?

See our term dates 

How do you make sure students are safe while at College?

We are strongly committed to safeguarding our students and staff while they are at College. We ask all our students and staff to wear ID badges at all times when on any of our campuses, and anyone not wearing ID will be challenged. All campuses have a [security system on entering the building].

Why aren’t the same subjects offered at all three campuses?

Our three campuses in Lewisham, Deptford and Southwark have a different course offering depending on their specific resources and space – for example Lewisham campus facilities include our on-site beauty salon and restaurant, while our Deptford campus hosts our specialist construction and trades centre.

What’s the difference between being a full time and part time student?

A full time student is someone doing more than 12 hours’ study at the College per week. Part time students are those attending evening classes.



What do the different qualification ‘levels’ mean?

The qualification levels tell you the standard of knowledge and skills you will have gained when you complete them. They’re there to help you see where you can go next on your learning journey and to tell employers whether you’re ready for a job.

The levels we offer at Lewisham Southwark College are:

Qualification Level Academic Awards Vocational Awards Apprenticeship Level

Level 4




Level 4 Qualifications





Foundation Degree,


NVQ Level 4/5 

Higher Apprenticeship




Level 3






Minimum 2x A Levels






NVQ Level 3

BTEC Awards,

Certificates, Diplomas at Level 3

BTEC Extended Diplomas

OCR Nationals, Cambridge Technicals

Level 3

Advanced Apprenticeship






Level 2





5 GCSEs A*-C

or Grade 4-9




NVQ Level 2

BTEC First Diploma

Functional Skills Level 2

OCR Nationals

Cambridge Technicals Level 2

Intermediate Apprenticeship





Level 1












NVQ Level 1

Introduction Diploma, Certificate

Cache Diploma

Skills for Working Life

Functional Skills Level 1

OCR Nationals/Foundation

Access to Apprenticeship/






Entry Level



1, 2, or 3



Entry Level Awards

Certificates and Diplomas

Functional Skills at Entry Level




Changes have recently been introduced to the GCSE Grading starting from 2017. See this document for more details.

What level course do I have to study if I want to go to university?

You will need to do a level 3 course or an access course which is level 3, with Maths and English qualifications - normally GCSEs at 4 or above.

What short/evening courses do you offer? When do they start?

We offer two types of short courses – courses for career progression and/or hobby interests, and courses for those currently on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or other government benefit schemes. Short courses run for between four and 18 weeks and normally start in January, April and September. See our short courses page for full details.
What age do you have to be to attend evening classes?

Evening classes are for adults (aged 19+).

What time are evening classes?

Evening classes are usually between 5.30pm and 9pm



When can I come to a College open day?

We hold open days in the autumn and summer for school leavers and adult learners. Our next open days are in November. See our Open Days page for dates and times.

How and when do I apply for a course?

You can apply through our online portal. The date when you will need to apply depends on the starting date for your course. For 16-18 courses you should ideally apply by April to start at the College in September 2018.

Will I need an interview before I’m accepted on to a course?

You will not need to be interviewed, but for our 16-18 courses we will ask you to come to the College so you can find out more about your chosen programme. You will also take in English and maths assessment to check that the course is at the right level for you. Some courses may also have specific requirements (eg an audition for our performing arts courses).

How and when do I enrol?

Once you’ve been accepted on to a course, you’ll receive a letter from us giving you the date, time and location of enrolment as well as details of what you’ll need to bring along.



How many days a week do I have to attend college?

This will vary depending on the course you are doing, but most courses require you to attend for between three and five days a week.

What time do classes start and finish?

On most courses, classes start around 9am and finish around 4.30pm but this will vary depending on your course. Evening classes take place between 5.30 and 9pm.

What happens if I’m late for College or fail to attend?

To get the best out of your College experience and stay on track with your studies, your attendance and punctuality need to be good. If you are ill, you need to call 020 3757 3000 to let us know that you won’t be in.

If you fail to attend College or are late on a regular basis, we will need to follow up with you and your parent/carer to talk about why this is happening.

What help can I get if I’m struggling on my course?

Our student support service is available on all our campuses to help you with any difficulties you might be having – whether you have concerns about your course, careers, fees and finance, housing, or personal problems.

We also offer one-to-one and small group support for learners who have disabilities or additional needs, require assistance with English and maths, or have dyslexia. In addition we have Learning Support and Resource Centres where our team can give you help if you need it in English and maths, essay writing, revision techniques and study skills.

Do you have to study English and maths as part of your course?

You need a good level of English and maths to progress in your career so if you don’t already have a grade c/4 in English and/or maths GCSE, you can re-take these exams whilst studying your chosen subject at College. The English and maths courses last for a year.



How much does it cost to study at the College?

If you’re aged 16 to 18 your course will be free. If you are an adult learner (19+), there are tuition fees but these are different for all students – the College will need to assess your circumstances at the time you apply.

Can I get help with the cost of my course?

Yes there are a range of financial support options available for both 16+ and adult learners.

For 16-18 year olds, education itself is free but some people still face financial barriers so there are a variety of options in place such as the 16-18 bursary, HE student finance and VYP Bursary. See our 16-18 Financial Support page for details of the support you can apply for.

For adult learners, tuition fees apply but the amount you will pay depends on your circumstances. Adult learners are eligible to apply for a 19+ study award, Travel Award and 20+ childcare. See our Adult Finances page for full details.
What’s an Advanced Learning Loan?

The Advanced Learning Loan is a government scheme that helps learners aged 19+ with the cost of their tuition fees on level 3 to Level 6 courses. See our Advanced Learning Loan page for full details.



If you have questions on apprenticeships, visit the FAQs on our Apprenticeship page. This page will tell you all you need to know about what an apprenticeship is, who is eligible to apply for an apprenticeship, how much apprentices earn and how to apply.



How do you communicate with parents to keep them up to date?

We stay in touch with parents through regular progress evenings and progress reports. Our tutors aim to have a two-way dialogue with parents and are always happy to be contacted by phone, email or text with any concerns you have; equally they will contact you if they have concerns about how your child is coping or progressing.

My child is in Year 11. Should s/he choose sixth form or College?

While schools and sixth form colleges focus mainly on A levels, we offer a more vocational route and a broad range of qualifications in subjects that can’t be studied at school. The College environment enables students to train for a specific career in an environment where they are treated as adults and have access to industry standard facilities and expert tutors.

Can my child access additional learning support?

Yes, we have a range of support systems in place to help those with additional learning support. We offer one-to-one and small group support for learners who have disabilities or additional needs, students requiring assistance with English and maths, and those with dyslexia. In addition our Learning Support and Resource Centres are on hand to help with topics such as English and maths, essay writing, revision techniques and study skills.

Will my child attending college affect my state benefits?

No, your child attending full-time study should not affect your Child Benefit and Family Tax Credit. You should inform the appropriate authorities about their transition from school to college.

Will studying help my child get a job?

We are a vocational college and our main purpose is to get people into employment – not just a ‘job’ but a fulfilling, rewarding career. We only offer programmes that have been designed to match industry requirements and also integrate work placements into our courses, to maximise our students’ chances of gaining a job in their chosen career.

Could my child progress to Higher Education?

Yes, no matter what your child’s qualifications when they first join us, our courses can enable them to continue all the way up to Higher Education and degree level if they have the aptitude and desire to achieve this.

Work Experience/placements - employer perspective

What would the responsibilities of my company be?   What legal aspects do I need to be aware of? 

The employer is responsible for ensuring that the student undertakes suitable work, at the right level for them, for the duration of the work experience. A member of staff should be assigned to supervise and mentor the student. This person will be their point of contact for any issues that arise, and will also be required to write a report on the student’s performance.

The employer is responsible, under current Health & Safety at Work legislation, for taking all reasonably practical steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all students on its premises. Under the Young People at Work Regulations, employers are required to inform young people between the ages of 16 and 18 of any significant risks to their health and safety. It is also their duty to supply all students with personal protective equipment if needed and give training on its use, and to inform students of any precautionary measures associated with tasks and machinery.

What conditions does my business need to meet? What documents do I need?

The placement employer needs to meet all the College’s health and safety, equality and safeguarding criteria and will be assessed by the Work Placement Officer on this basis.

Once a health and safety visit has been completed by the College, a Service Level Agreement will be put in place which will clarify the responsibilities of the employer and the College.

Placement companies can provide the College’s Work Placement Officer with a copy of their safeguarding policy. However, if this is not something you have, Insurance Policy documents will usually cover the Health and Safety requirements that will be needed.

At the end of the placement, we provide the employer with a Work Experience Employer Survey which is used to capture their feedback.

 What do I need to pay?

Placements are generally unpaid. However, the placement employer may reimburse students for any out of pocket expenses they incur while on placement such as travel costs, meals and drinks.

How would the process start?

The Colleges have an extensive network of business contacts in local boroughs, so many work experience opportunities come through these contacts. In addition, employers can contact the Colleges’ Work Placement Officers to let them know that they would be willing to take placement students in certain roles, or in some cases the College will reach out to local businesses.

The Colleges’ Work Placement Officers will then usually visit the organisation to discuss the number of placements available and check that the placements will match the requirements of the relevant study programmes. They will also check that the organisation meets all the necessary health and safety, equality and safeguarding criteria.

Who organises the placement and who is responsible for the details?

It’s the responsibility of Lewisham College and Southwark College’s Work Experience Teams to find ‘purposeful’, relevant and challenging work opportunities with employers. Each department of the Colleges works with the Work Experience Team to achieve this.

For students under 18, a parent or guardian needs to give written consent.

The College will undertake a Health and Safety risk assessment prior to the placement.

The employer’s responsibility includes organising a suitable induction for the student prior to the beginning of the placement, assigning a member of staff to supervise the student throughout their placement, checking the student’s progress, signing their logbook and writing a report on the student’s performance at the end of the placement.

How selective can we be when choosing a work experience candidate? What do we do if we are unhappy with the work experience candidate after it has started?

You can let us know what your requirements are and we can send you a shortlist of suitable students. This isn’t always the case as it depends on how many placements there are and how many suitable students there are. If at any time you are not happy you will be able to discuss this with our Work Placement Team.

Would my company be paid? Who covers the cost of resources?

Unfortunately, there is no financial budget to pay the employer – this is more about providing opportunities for young people to develop real life skills.

Is there an information pack you can send me?

Yes, employers are provided with our Induction Guidance for Employers.

How long would it last? And are there any particular dates?

Work placements can last anywhere between 1-13 weeks spread across a period of time. Often when a student has completed a successful work placement, the employer will ask them to continue the placement over a longer period, fitting in with the demands of their course.

Placements usually take place between January and June.



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