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24,000 Access to HE students are accepted at over 140 universities every year*


23,000 more staff required in the education sector from 2018 to 2023*

Interested in the education sector? Are you thinking of taking a university course in this field but don’t currently meet the entry requirements? Our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) is the ideal stepping stone to help you towards the next level of study as well as a future working in teaching or other education careers.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a Level 3 qualification providing an equivalent to A-levels. Designed for adult learners and those without traditional qualifications or a formal educational background, the course combines providing an introduction to your chosen subject area with developing the essential skills you need to study at higher levels. You will gain foundational knowledge of areas such as the development of education, influences in achievement, theories of child development and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as building skills such as academic writing and study techniques.

Our expert tutors and staff will support you throughout your course, at the end of which you will have gained a nationally-recognised qualification that will open the doors to higher education. You will also have the foundations for a range of future careers, from working in primary and secondary schools to nurseries or SEND environments.

Find out more about this course and the college by ordering a physical copy of our college prospectus by clicking here.

Why choose this college course?

  • RECOGNISED QUALIFICATION – This Access to Higher Education Diploma will give you a nationally-recognised qualification to help meet the entry requirements for university
  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Gain the necessary study skills and key knowledge for your chosen subject or career, as well as the independent learning skills needed for university study
  • GREAT LEARNING SUPPORT – Enjoy a positive and supportive learning experience that will develop your skills and confidence to progress onto higher education
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Continue your learning journey to the next level at University College Birmingham, such as on our early years or primary education degree courses

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • Safeguarding in Education
  • Play
  • Communication and Practice
  • The Development of Education
  • Influences in Achievement
  • Skills for Learning
  • Disability and Special Educational Needs
  • The Developing Child
  • Managing Behaviour in the Classroom
  • Education Policy, Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships
  • Equality of Opportunities in Practice
  • Theories of Child Development
  • Education in Practice
  • Placement Experience
  • Classroom Skills

Entry requirements

Our Access to Higher Education Diploma course has been designed for students who have not had the opportunity to access higher education. Applicants must have at least three years’ life experience outside of formal education gained since completing formal education. Experience does not need to be in a subject-related field.

Academic requirements

  • GCSE English Language grade 4 (grade C) and Maths at grade 3 (grade D) or equivalent
  • If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919 or email

Supporting documents required

Applicants will also be required to submit a reference from a previous or current employment role. Please where possible submit this with your application by emailing your reference to

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification, will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Learning will be assessed in a variety of methods to prepare you for study at university. These may include assignments, timed essays or presentations at the end of each module – the equivalent of 5 assessments at the end of each term.

In order to successfully complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education), you must achieve a total of 60 credits (see previous list).

You must achieve 60 credits at Level 3. 45 are graded credits in Academic Modules at Pass, Merit or Distinction, and 15 are ungraded credits in Skills for Learning.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) offers mature learners the opportunity to study at Level 3 in the related field of education within a supportive and innovative environment. In your studies you will explore a range of subjects related to education, assessment, learning and the key skills required to work within the classroom environment. This will then support you to progress onto degree-level study in related fields such as our Early Childhood Studies or Primary Education Studies programmes.

Martyn Wyres Head of the Department of Education

Career opportunities

This course is designed to enable your progression onto higher education. Depending on entry requirements, you could continue onto a degree at University College Birmingham, such as Primary Education Studies (Accelerated), Childhood Education Studies (Online) or Early Childhood Studies. For secondary education, you could undertake one of our vocational degrees (such as Sport, Coaching and Fitness or Computer Science) followed by a PGCE.

With further study, possible future career options open to you include:

Education support assistant

Average Salary: £20,509

Primary and nursery teaching professional

Average Salary: £46,412

SEN teaching professional

Average Salary: £44,799

Secondary education teaching professional

Average Salary: £49,412

Note: The example roles and salaries are intended as a guide only.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


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Steph’s Story

Steph has studied the education sector in depth and brings a wealth of expertise to our Access to Higher Education Diploma.

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