Levels of education. What do they mean?

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland there are 8 qualification levels (1 - 8) plus an entry level qualification for those just starting. Generally, the higher the level, the more difficult the qualification is. Levels 1-3 are typically taught in schools and colleges.

With so many different qualifications, it can be hard to know what they mean and where they might lead to next. To help you understand, we've created a summary of what the levels mean highlighting academic, vocational and work-based routes to higher education.

Qualification levels - UK: The Parents' Guide to
Qualification levels

For more information on how you can support your child in making the right choices after their GCSEs or A levels, you may be interested in reading The Parents’ Guide to Post 16 options (full edition)


The Parents’ Guide to Post 18 options


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Darius Bluck