FAQs/Glossary

Everything you need to know about the Admissions process is here, but if you have any further questions, please contact our friendly Admissions team by phoning 02380 514776 or emailing admissions@richardtaunton.ac.uk

For more information about the Admissions process, click here.

For answers to our Admissions Frequently Asked Questions please use the tabs below or click here to download them.

Submitting Applications

When can I apply? All our courses run from September – July. Applications open in late September of the previous year and can be submitted throughout the year, however it is recommended that you apply before February to have the widest choice of courses.

 

If you apply after March you will miss out on the chance to attend our Welcome Evenings. If you apply after June, you will miss out on our Freshers Days and we won’t be able to interview you or confirm your place until the end of August.

In the event that courses fill up, we will allocate places in order of application date. Students will lose the benefit of an early application date if they:

  • Fail to attend their interview without letting us know
  • Cannot attend enrolment at the normal time
  • Fail to respond to our communications.
How can I apply? You can complete and submit your application online here. Alternatively you can download a form to print and send back to us, or fill out the paper form printed in our prospectus
What will happen after I submit my application? If you submit your application online you will receive an email confirming we have received your application. If you have not received this email, you have either not fully completed the application or you have supplied an incorrect email address.

You will hear from us within two weeks with an invitation for your pre-enrolment interview. If you apply after the end of June, the interview will take place during enrolment at the end of August.

I’m having problems with the online application form The most common reasons for this are:

  • The system is unavailable between midnight – 7am
  • You are using the wrong password to login – click the ‘forgotten password link’ to reset
  • You have not completed all details on the application form – you must click Submit on the final page
I’ve submitted the application form but want to change something Simply email your changes to our Admissions team and we will correct the application for you.
I want to submit a personal statement or other documents Please email the document to our Admissions team and we will join the document up with your application. Remember to include your full name and date of birth in the email.
Is there a different application form for adult / evening classes? No, the only exceptions are non-academic activities such as Community Choir. Most of our adult and evening students are government funded so we need just as much information from you as we do for daytime students.
Can I apply after the academic year has started? We accept a small number of late applicants in the first weeks of the academic year if:

  • We still have places on our courses
  • Students can convince us they can catch up on the work they have missed without disrupting other students

If you wish to transfer from another college mid-year, contact our Admissions team who will arrange a phone consultation with one of our senior managers.

Course Choices

I’m trying to apply but I don’t know what courses to do Try and pick at least one thing that you might be interested in studying – at this stage, this will help us to allocate you the best interviewer. At your pre-enrolment interview, you will get the advice you need to decide on a programme, but don’t worry – it can still be changed later.
Are the courses on my pre-enrolment offer letter final? No, you can still change your subjects after your pre-enrolment interview, just contact the Admissions team to let them know. They will consult your interviewer who may contact you if they think the change needs further discussion.

If you want to make a complete change of direction, then we may invite you back for another interview.

I’ve had my interview but I’m still not sure what courses I want to do Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to think about it, as your courses aren’t finalised until the end of August,

  • Research any career ideas you have and work out what A Levels you will need
  • Speak to your schools Careers Adviser for guidance
  • Try different subjects on Freshers Day
I’ve changed my mind about what courses to try on Freshers Day Just call our Admissions team to let them know. If it’s close to the day, we will ask you to collect your new timetable on arrival. Please note you can try different subjects on Freshers Day without affecting the courses you are officially enrolled on.
I’ve been to Freshers Day and now I want to change my courses Contact the Admissions team to let them know, so they can allocate you the best interviewer at enrolment. We can’t check the viability of your new course at this stage, so just explain to your interviewer when you come to enrolment at the end of August – it’s usually not a problem.
What is the Sixth Form Academy? This is a programme for gifted and talented students, who are predicted to achieve six or more Grade B’s at GCSE (including English Language and Maths). If you have been selected for the Academy this will appear as another course on your offer letter. You may hear it referred to as ACE (Academy Challenge Enrichment).
Can I study part-time? Up to the age of 18 you are required to study a full-time programme, although we can make exceptions in special cases e.g. for medical reasons. If you are over 18, please see the ‘Students over 18’ section below.
What is a full-time programme? A full-time programme is classed as 540 classroom hours per year – roughly 15-17 hours per week. We expect each classroom hour to be matched by an hour of study/homework.

Pre-Enrolment Interviews

What is a pre-enrolment interview? During a pre-enrolment interview we find out what you want to study and why, and decide whether we can offer you a place.
When are pre-enrolment interviews? Pre-enrolment interviews for daytime students take place between October-June, either in schools or at the college. College interviews are normally on Tuesday / Wednesday afternoons or Saturday mornings. If you apply after June, we are unable to carry out the interview until enrolment (late August / early September).
I’ve been invited to a pre-enrolment interview but I can’t make it. Just call the Admissions team and they will arrange an alternative date to suit you.
I’m not yet in the area so can’t attend the pre-enrolment interview. We can usually arrange a phone interview or work around times when you are going to be in the local area.
I’m not going to make it to my pre-enrolment interview, what do I do? It’s helpful if you can let us know that you can’t make the interview or have been held up, as we do check messages received during the pre-enrolment sessions. If you don’t turn up and we haven’t heard from you, we will call you to arrange another interview.

Music Auditions

Do I need a music audition? Yes, if you are applying for any of our music courses.
When is it done? We aim to arrange music auditions at the same time as your pre-enrolment interview, as they help us to recommend the right course for you. Occasionally, we may invite you to an audition on a separate occasion or for later applicants, on Freshers Day in June / July.
What does the audition consist of? The audition takes about 10 minutes and you will be asked to play or sing a piece of your choice. The audition isn’t about ‘getting in’ or not, it’s about assessing your level and putting you on the best courses. If you have any queries about the audition or what to bring, just contact our Admissions team.

Welcome Evening

What is the Welcome Evening? Welcome Evening is a short evening event for prospective students and their parents to learn more about how things work at college – how we support you, careers and progression advice, details about lessons and workload etc.
When are the Welcome Evenings? Usually in the first two-three weeks of the summer term. Check our Calendar for the specific dates.
Who can come? Welcome Evenings are aimed at prospective students who have already had their pre-enrolment interview, and their parents.
Which one do I need to come to? We normally hold two Welcome Evenings, one for Sixth Form Academy students and one for everyone else. If you are enrolled in the Academy, you will see ‘ACE’ on your offer letter. The content of the two evenings is very similar so please feel free to attend either evening.
Does it matter if I miss it? These events are not compulsory but we recommend you come if you can – there will be a presentation from staff and the opportunity to ask any questions.
Is it relevant to adult / evening class students? If you’re 19+ enrolled on a daytime course and don’t have prior experience of college life, we recommend that you attend Welcome Evening.

If you are enrolled on our Access to HE course or evening GCSEs, it’s not necessary to come to Welcome Evening.

Freshers Day

What is Freshers Day? Some colleges call it a Taster Day or Introductory Day. As a prospective student, you’ll be invited to spend the day in college following a timetable and experiencing the lessons of your chosen subjects. The dates will be given at your pre-enrolment interview.
How will I know what day to attend? You will be sent an invitation during June, specifying which day to come to and with lots more information about the day.
I want to change my Freshers Day We will invite you to a particular day but in most cases you will be able to change, just contact our Admissions team. There are a very small number of subjects that will only run on one day – if this affects you we will let you know.
How many courses can I try on Freshers Day? Generally the timetable allows for up to four A Level subjects (BTEC / Cambridge / CACHE Extended Diplomas count as 3 A Levels). If you want to try lots of subjects, or try both an A Level or BTEC programme, you are welcome to attend on both days.
Does it matter if I miss it? Freshers Day is not compulsory but we would recommend you attend if you can. It’s a unique opportunity to get to know the college, and the more time you spend here the more you’ll feel at home when you start in September. It’s particularly valuable if you still haven’t made up your mind about your courses, or which college to go to.
Can I come to part of the day? You will get the best out of Freshers if you attend the whole day. If you are going to be late due to an unavoidable commitment (e.g. an exam) please let us know so someone can meet you upon your arrival.
If I can’t make the day, are there other options? Regretfully we can’t offer the full Freshers Day experience on any other day. This year we are offering most subjects on two days to minimise disappointment for students who have other commitments. Please note that we try to avoid clashing with local schools’ prom dates and other colleges’ taster days.
Is it relevant to adult / evening class students? If you’re 19+ enrolled on a daytime course and don’t have prior experience of college life, we recommend that you attend Freshers Day.

If you are enrolled on our Access to HE course or evening GCSEs, it’s not necessary to come to Welcome Evening

Enrolment

What is enrolment? This is the final step before you start your lessons. At enrolment, we finalise your courses (based on your actual GCSE grades) and complete the administration required to officially make you a RTSFC student.
When is it? The main enrolment period is from the day the GCSE results are published, until the end of August.
Do I have to come? Yes, this event is compulsory although dates are flexible if necessary.
How do I know when to come? During July we will invite you to a specific date and time.
What if I can’t make my appointment? Just contact the Admissions team and they will re-arrange it for you.
What if I can’t make the main enrolment week? We continue to enrol students after the main enrolment period, but by that time we are finalising the timetable and therefore may not be able to offer you a place on all your chosen courses.

We advise against late enrolment if you applied after June and have therefore not had a pre-enrolment interview, as we will not be able to offer your place until the enrolment interview.

Can parents come? Yes, parents are encouraged to attend enrolment. The process includes payment of the student fund, college deposit, course payments and bus passes (where applicable) and many parents prefer to be there in person to do this. We do have some evening sessions if this is more convenient for parents.

Course Payments

Are there things I have to pay for at college? Yes – whilst the government generally funds your tuition, there are other things we charge you for when you enrol with us. These payments help us fund our extensive enrichment programme and pay for additional items to help you with your studies, like revision guides. We will also ask you to pay for some books and equipment, and some trips.
When do I pay? Course payments are due at enrolment. Payment for most trips and equipment is requested as and when an event is being planned.
How do I pay? At enrolment you can pay by cash, cheque or credit/debit card. After enrolment, you can use Wisepay, the college’s online payment system.
What if my courses change? If you change courses at a later stage we will refund or recharge you as required.
What if I can’t pay? We understand that these payments may present difficulties for some people. Please refer to our Bursary scheme to see if we can help.

Timetables and Workload

What is the structure of the timetable?
  • Each day is divided into four periods of one and a half hours – two in the morning and two in the afternoon.
  • Most of these periods are lessons, but some of the afternoon slots are allocated to tutorials, supported study, workshops and enrichment activities, some of them in half-sessions.
  • Each A level subject will have three one-and-a-half-hour lessons per week.
  • Extended Diplomas will have nine one-and-a-half-hour lessons per week.
What times are the lessons? Lesson 1: 8:30am – 10:00am

Lesson 2: 10:20am-11:50am

Lesson 3: 12:50pm-14:20pm

Lesson 4: 14:25pm – 15:55pm

Do I have to be in college all day? You don’t have to be in college when you don’t have a timetabled activity, but we recommend that you make the most of your opportunity to study in college and use our facilities.

Exams

I had extra time or special arrangements at school for my exams, will I get this at college? This does not happen automatically. To make sure that you have these special arrangements in place, you must speak to the Upgrade team who will ask you to take part in an assessment and put the necessary arrangements in place.Deadlines are as follows:
• 4 October for the November GCSE/IGCSE exams
• 21 October for the January exams
• 21 February for the summer exams.
We are booking our holidays, what do we do? We do not encourage/advise you to take holidays during term-time. You should contact the Exams Office to find out when your exam is likely to be and also talk to your teacher about timings for coursework, art and oral exams. If you miss an external exam (e.g. GCSE or A level) there is no opportunity to take this until the following year.
How am I entered for exams? We will automatically enter you for the exams you need to take in order to pass each course, provided that you have met the requirements laid out in our Learning Agreement regarding attendance and completed homework.
Will I have to pay for my exams? In almost all cases your exam fee is covered by the government course funding. The only time you will need to pay an exam entry fee is if:
a) You are re-sitting an exam you’ve done before
b) You have not attended enough lessons, or completed enough homework, to meet the requirements to be entered (as stated in your Learning Agreement).If you still want to go ahead you will need to pay the fee.
What time of year are the exams held? A-Level and GCSE exams are held between April and June. University entry exams take place during October and November. CTEC and BTEC exams dates are decided within the department. Usually they take place in November or January depending on the course. You will need to liaise with your art teacher to find out when your art exams are being held.

We usually release Summer exam timetables on Moodle after the February half-term. Please ensure you check your timetable regularly. It is live and changes can occur up to the day of the exam.

There may be other exams during the year, you will be notified in advance by your subject teacher, tutor and in Moodle.

Where can I find past papers? Copies are available on the following websites:
AQA
OCR
Pearson/Edexcel
WJECOn your Moodle exam timetable you will see details of each paper you will be sitting, along with the exam board.
Where will I sit my exams? You can see what room you will be in for your exam on your Moodle timetable. You should check your exam timetable regularly, as room changes can occur. Seating plans for the main hall and sports hall will be positioned outside each room prior to the exam, so that you can find your named desk card quickly and quietly.
Can I change the date/time of my exam? The Exam Boards have set the date of exams. If you have an exam clash, or in some exceptional circumstances, the time may be changed at the Exam Board’s discretion.
What can I take into the exam? You must provide your own pens, rulers, pencils, rubbers, calculators when allowed, instruments etc. Remember you must only use black ink. The use of pencil is allowed for diagrams and illustrations. You may bring a bottle of water into the exam hall, however you must remove any labels. If you require any medication or medical device with you during the exam, please notify an invigilator before each exam.

You may bring your bag/ coat into the exam venue you will be directed by the invigilators whilst entering where to keep them. We cannot guarantee their security. Any mobile phones, smart watches or similar devices must be switched off whilst in the exam venue. They must not be with you at your desk, if you do not have a bag to put it in you must hand it in at Student Services before your exam.

How long are the exams? The length of exams can vary between papers. Your Moodle exam timetable with include the duration of each exam.
How many exams might I have to take in a day, or a week? Typically, you may sit one morning and one afternoon exam in a day. The board ruling is that you can sit exams up to six hours per day.
What if I have two exams scheduled at the same time? If you have two exams scheduled at the same time on your Moodle exam timetable you will receive a letter through your Tutor during Prep before May. The letter will clearly explain which exam you will sit in the main venue and at what time you will sit the second exam. You may be required to bring your lunch with you as you may need to be supervised by an invigilator before your second exam.
What happens on the day of the exam? Seating plans are displayed outside the exam venue up to an hour before the exam begins. Please find your candidate number to see which row you are sat in. Morning (AM) exams begin at 9am and afternoon (PM) exams begin at 1.30pm. You need to be at the exam venue at least 20 minutes before the exam begins.
Will my teacher be present at the exam? There is a possibility your teacher will be present in the exam venue until the exam begins. There will also be invigilators there so please put your hand up if you have any questions.
When are results issued? A-Level results are issued on 17 August 2017.
GCSE results are issued on 24 August 2017.ID must be shown when collecting results. If you are not available to collect your results they will be sent out First Class by noon on results day. Once you have joined us, please ensure your home address is correct on the system. To change or check your home address contact Student Services.
When can I expect to receive my certificates? Certificates will be posted to the address held on the College System in November and BTEC certificates in late August to early September. If you take a GCSE exam in November your certificate will be sent to your home address in March.
How can I contact the exams department? The Exam Office is located opposite the Student Services Help Desk on the first floor.

Exam Office opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 7.45am – 3.45pm
Friday: 7.45am – 3.15pm

I am a past student and would like a copy of my results. How can I obtain them? Please contact Carol Morey, Carol.Morey@richardtaunton.ac.uk or Charlene Pinto, Charlene.Pinto@richardtaunton.ac.uk with your name and date of birth.

Students over 18 (on 31st August of start year)

Does the college take adult students? Yes, we have three types of programmes available to adults:

  • Evening classes in GCSE Maths and English, on Monday and Tuesday evenings
  • Access to HE Diploma runs all day Wednesday plus Tuesday evenings
  • All our normal daytime programmes (part-time or full-time) for a limited number of adults

Please note that:

  • You may need to pay fees (see the next section)
  • Applications for daytime study will be put on the waiting list until we are sure we have places available (after our 16-18 year olds have enrolled)
  • If you are enrolled on a daytime programme, your timetable is likely to be spread over several days and can’t be adjusted to suit your availability
  • All of our courses are for a minimum of one academic year starting in September. BTEC Level 3 Diplomas and A Level courses take two years
  • If you are studying in the day your classmates will mainly be 16-18 year old students so we may ask for a character reference
  • The financial support we offer is intended to help with travel expenses but can’t cover living expenses – if you’re living independently, you need to look into part-time work or claiming benefits
  • Juggling part-time study with a job is tough, so we need you to demonstrate that you are committed and mature enough to cope with the challenge.
Does the college have nursery facilities? Regretfully, no.

Funding and Fees (19+ / Overseas Students)

Will I have to pay tuition fees? You may have to pay fees if:

  • You are 19+ on 31st August of your start year
  • You are from outside the European economic area and have not been resident in the UK for three years

In these cases we deal with each student individually. There are many reasons why you may still qualify for full or partial fee remission (i.e. the government still funds you) but to assess this we need to know:

  • Your prior qualifications and grades
  • The courses you plan to study with us
  • Whether you are entitled to benefits
  • Your nationality and right to remain in the UK
  • In some cases, your parents nationality and right to remain in the UK

We will assess all this at your pre-enrolment interview (or enrolment if you apply after June) and let you know if you need to pay tuition fees, and if so how much.

How much are the fees? The fees depend on your course, please click here to see the current fee list. Please note they are subject to change each year.
Is there a waiting list? Yes, if you are 19+ (on 31st August of your start year) and qualify for government funding (known as fee remission) then we will put your name on a waiting list, because we can only acces a limited amount of adult funding.

The rest of the Admissions process is as normal, but we can only finalise your place once enrolment is complete during the first week of September. For this reason, you are advised to explore other opportunities to keep your options open.

Places are allocated based on date of application. Students will lose the benefit of an early application date if they:

  • Fail to attend their interview without letting us know
  • Cannot attend enrolment at the normal time
  • Fail to respond to our communications.
Can I get a student loan to cover my fees? You can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan if:

  • You are 19 or older at the start of your course AND
  • You are studying a Level 3 course (equivalent to A Levels) or higher

We will explain the loan and how it works when you have your pre-enrolment interview.

Access to HE Diploma

What is the Access Diploma? The Access course is aimed at adults who have not got A Level qualifications but want to study for a university degree. The Access course is equivalent to studying three A Levels and is taught part-time.
Which courses do you run? At Richard Taunton’s we run the Healthcare pathway over one year (Nursing and Midwifery / Health and Social Work).
How do I apply? Please fill in the college application form and indicate the Access course when filling in the course choice section. We will then arrange an interview for you in the normal way.
What days are the lessons? Currently the course runs all day Wednesday (8.30am – 6pm) and Tuesday evenings. There will be a lot of additional study required in your own time.
What is the content of the course? Please see here for full details of the course.
What are the entry requirements? We need students to have achieved a Grade C or above in GCSE Maths and English prior to starting the course.
How much does it cost? The full cost of the course is £3,000. Students 19 years and older at the start of the course can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan to cover the cost – these are like university loans and don’t have to be paid back until you earn a certain salary. Full details of the loan can be made available on request.

If you are aged 19-23 at the start of the course, you may be eligible for government funding (or part-funding). This depends on your age and other factors including your prior qualifications and whether you are on benefits. We will clarify this for you when you come in for your interview.

Going Straight into Year 2

If you want to start on the second year of an A level programme please see “Transferring from another college” under the Apply menu.

Admissions Process for Adult / Evening Students

If you are 19+ on 31st August at the start of the academic year in which you enroll, the same Admissions process applies as for daytime students, with the following additions:

Pre-Enrolment

If you are applying for daytime study we will invite you to one of our normal pre-enrolment sessions, usually on Tuesday/Wednesday afternoon and Saturday mornings. However we can make different arrangements if necessary.

Pre-enrolment interviews for evening classes and the Access to HE Diploma are held during separate early-evening sessions between January and June.

If you apply after June, we will ask you to come for an interview during enrolment at the end of August / start of September, and will not be able to make you a firm offer until then.

Assessments during Pre-Enrolment

We generally ask Adult Education students to complete some assessments during their pre-enrolment interview. This helps us to assess your current level of Maths and English skills, which aids us in recommending the right courses for you. For this reason, Adult Education interviews can take longer and you should allow 1½ hours to complete the process.

Funding and Fees

We need to assess your eligibility for funding, and what tuition fees you will need to pay if you’re not eligible. If you’re 19+ studying Level 3 or above, you are eligible to apply for an Advanced Learning Loan to cover your tuition fees.

We clarify this at your pre-enrolment interview because funding and fees are very course-dependent. They also depend on your prior qualifications, age, benefit status, how long you’ve lived in the UK and your right to remain in the UK – please bring evidence of any of these that apply to you.

If you apply after June, we will endeavour to provide you with advice but we cannot finalise your funding / fees until your interview at enrolment in early September.

Please note that GCSE Maths and English are currently fully funded (i.e.there are no tuition fees) for students of any age who have not yet achieved a Grade C or above, provided you are eligible for government funding (based on your nationality and how long you’ve been living in the UK.

Glossary

Term Definition
‘Extra’ qualifications If you have a full Level 2 / Level 3 programme but wish to study further Level 2 / Level 3 qualifications, these are ‘extra’.
Full Level 2 A full Level 2 programme consists of five GCSE’s at Grade C or above, including English and Maths.
Full Level 3 A full Level 3 programme consists of two or move full A Levels at Grade E or above. Most universities require students to have specific grades in three A Levels (or equivalent). Three or more A Levels is a full-time programme.
Learning agreement This is a contract you sign at enrolment, which outlines what we will deliver to you and what you will agree to do in return. It requires you to commit to full attendance, homework completion, good behaviour etc. in return for your education being paid for (in most cases by the tax payer).
Level 2 GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.
Level 3 A Levels or equivalent qualifications.