English & Maths FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for

Part Time English & Maths Courses

Do you offer the English and/or maths as part time courses or do I have to study them alongside a vocational course?

We offer part time courses for learners aged 19 or over. Anyone aged 16-18 years old must be in full time education or training.

When are the GCSE exams?

GCSE exams take place every summer (May and June). We therefore ask that students do not take any holidays during this time. The dates are advertised on the Government website as well as on the Suffolk New College website/ on our campus notice-boards.

What happens if I can’t attend one of my GCSE exams?

If you miss an exam then unfortunately you will not pass your English or Maths qualification at a grade 4 or above, although we advise that you still attend the others if you can.

Only in extenuating circumstances will other options be considered. You are advised to speak to our exams team via studentdatateam@suffolk.ac.uk or 01473 382288 if this is the case.

What grade can I get on the GCSE courses?

We teach students to work towards a grade 4 pass. However, some students may achieve higher. Grade 1 is the lowest grade and grade 9 is the highest.

Is there a foundation and higher tier paper?

There is not a higher paper for English GCSE. All students can work towards the highest grade. For maths there is a higher paper and the tutors will discuss this with the learners that they feel would be suitable to pass this level qualification.

Can I re-sit my GCSE exam?

If you are entered to sit the summer exam then there may be the opportunity to re-sit in the following November. There are a number of factors to consider, and so this will be looked into on an individual basis. There may also be an exam entry fee. You are advised to discuss this with a tutor or Head of department when you get your results.

What English courses do you offer?

We offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Functional Skills entry 3, level 1 and level 2 and GCSE English Language.

What maths courses do you offer?

We offer Functional Skills entry 3, level 1 and level 2 and GCSE Maths.

Is level 2 functional skills or key skills equivalent to a GCSE Grade C or 4?

A level 2 is the equivalent level as a GCSE but it isn’t considered an equivalent qualification. This is because the GCSE specification covers a much larger range of topics and goes much more into depth. A functional skills course equips you for the basic underpinning knowledge in relation to reading, writing and speaking & listening. More details about each course are listed on our website, www.suffolk.ac.uk.

How do I know which course is best for me?

When you apply for an English or Maths course, you will receive an automated email thanking you for your application and advising you about the next steps. A mandatory part of our application process is to come into the College to sit an assessment. This is a mix of an online and a paper-based test where we check your level of understanding of the basics of the subject or subjects that you have applied for.

How long do the assessments take?

We allow up to 50 minutes for the maths assessment and 40 minutes for the English assessment. However, every applicant is different. Some may take the full time and others may complete more quickly.

Do I have to book an assessment?

It is preferred that you book an assessment. You can do so via a website called Event Brite. More details will be in your email. Don’t forget to check the junk folder if it isn’t in your inbox!

What topics are in the assessments?

The English assessment looks at your spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure as well as your understanding of questions.

The maths assessment checks your levels of basic maths, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, shapes, graphs, ratio, fractions, sequences and more.

What can I do to revise for the assessment?

We recommend that you use online tools such as BBC Bitesize to brush up your skills.

All the assessments are booked, can I still come along? We endeavour to book enough events for all applicants, but should they be full, please drop-in and we will accommodate you.

How and when will I be told my assessment result?

You will be emailed by a member of the team within 5 working days of sitting the assessment. Your patience during this time is appreciated!

What if I fail the assessment?

Once the test is marked, you will be emailed with the result (within 5 working days). If the assessment result is not what you had hoped, you may be able to sit again. However this is likely to be the most appropriate level for you to help build the knowledge you need to progress.

Can I do just English and Maths if I am under 19 years old?

Unfortunately not. The part time courses are for adults only.

How many exams do you do for functional skills and GCSEs? - English

There are three exams or assessments for functional skills English - 1 for reading, 1 for writing and a spoken presentation for speaking and listening. For GCSE there are 1 exam papers.

How many exams do you do for functional skills and GCSEs? - Maths

There is one exam for the functional skills maths course. There are three exam papers for GCSE maths.

Do I have to attend the same lesson every week for a part time adult English or Maths class?

Yes, it is expected that you commit to attending the same class every week for the duration of the course. It is important to have the consistency in your learning to support you in succeeding.

How much do these adult courses cost?

The adult courses are free for those who do not already hold a GCSE grade C/ 4 or above.

Do you do English Language and Literature?

We offer GCSE English Language only. We do not offer the literature qualification.

What awarding bodies do you use?

For GCSEs, we use AQA for English and Maths. For functional skills, the majority of our students sit with City and Guilds for English and Edexcel for maths.

Can I sit the GCSE exam with you but not attend classes? Do I pay for this?

Unfortunately, we do not allow people to sit with us as an 'external candidate'. You must be enrolled and have been attending classes with Suffolk New College if you wish to be entered for our exams. If you wish to find a provider who can offer you this, you are advised to look on the website of the awarding body that you wish to sit with. You will be asked to pay for this.

I enrolled with you last year but had to withdraw before the exams. Can I re-enrol this year and do I need to do another assessment?

If you completed an assessment and enrolled last year, then you will not need to complete another assessment, but you will be asked to apply online to re-register your interest. Once you have applied, please email the administrative team via southclusteradmin@suffolk.ac.uk to advise them and this will be recorded.

How long does it take to do the functional skills course and can I do two levels in one year?

We recommend that students take a full academic year to complete one level of the functional skills, although in some cases, students finish early. Students are entered for their exams on an individual basis. We do not recommend/allow studying more than one level in a year.