Health & Social Care

(BTEC Applied General  - Certificate / Extended Certificate)

Please note:  government expectation is that students should not take more than one certificate course as part of an A level programme.


Health and Social Care is a two-year modular A Level equivalent course, concerned with the study and explanation of the health and social care professions. The main aim of the course is to understand how professionals provide care for service users. The course will allow you to explore different approaches to support and care for members of society.

Health and Social Care is a subject that can be helpful to any student, whether you are interested in a career in the health and social care sector or not. It can usefully be studied in combination with subjects including Sociology, Psychology, Politics, Law, Citizenship and Biology. The course requires strong written skills as there is a significant level of coursework (it accounts for 50% of the overall mark in the first year).

The Year 1 Level 3 Certificate is equivalent to half an A Level and most students will be expected to continue on to the second year, during which they will complete the Level 3 Extended Certificate, which is the equivalent of a full A Level. In terms of UCAS points it is on a par with one A Level. Students can achieve either a Distinction *, Distinction, Merit or Pass and these are equivalent to A*, A, C and E at A Level.


Some Health and Social Care students will also take up a related Extended Project Qualification in health and social care related fields in the second year. The Health and Social Care department runs a range of support and revision sessions, as well as peer-mentoring. We also have visiting speakers from related occupations, to assist  students who are interested in pursuing a health related career. There may also be an opportunity for students to undertake up to 5 days work experience in Colchester General Hospital in the summer term of year 1.



The Year 1 Certificate consists of two topics:

  1. Meeting Individual Care and Support Needs (50%)

This unit is coursework based and involves students writing a project on health care provision based on case studies provided by the exam board. It covers the principles and values that are crucial in meeting care and support needs of individuals.

  1. Human Lifespan and Development (50%)

This unit is externally assessed by a 90-minute exam taken in May. It consists of short answer questions and extended response questions based on case studies. It focuses on: life stages, the different factors that affect growth and development, and the effects of ageing. Possible questions include ‘Discuss the likely negative effects of living in a deprived area on a person’s health and wellbeing’.

The Year 2 Extended Certificate consists of a further two topics:

  1. Working in Health and Social Care (67%)

This unit is externally assessed by a 90-minute exam taken in January.  It consists of short answer questions and extended response questions based on case studies. It explores what it is like to work in the health and social care sector and includes ‘The roles and responsibilities of different professions’ and ‘Working with people with specific needs’.

  1. Sociological Perspectives (33%)

This coursework unit requires students to produce a report which looks at how sociological perspectives and concepts can contribute to understanding the service provision in a local health and social care setting.

The marks from all four units combine together to give one BTEC National Extended Certificate grade at the end of the two-year course and students have the opportunity to re-sit either of the exam units if they would like to.



Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:

Grade required Subject required

Grade 4

GCSE English Language or English Literature



Health and Social Care offers relevant knowledge and skills to enhance employability in careers such as nursing, counselling, occupational therapy, mental health work, social work and physiotherapy.


The course is an exciting but demanding one. Students must be prepared to put in a large amount of hard work and commitment. Students will need to be organised and disciplined as there is a large amount of independent study required, particularly for the coursework units. Numerous deadlines will be set throughout the year and students will need to manage their time effectively.