Business Diploma

ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business and Management

For students who are looking for an alternative pathway to A-levels and are interested in the areas of Business and Management, we can offer our one-year Business Diploma. This government-recognised qualification is accepted by many of the UK’s best universities.

Students must be at least 17 years old by 1st September immediately preceding the course start date. Students must attain a minimum English Language level of IELTS 5.0 prior to starting the course. Our course-specific entry tests must be taken by applicants.

Formally equivalent to two A-levels, the course comprises six course modules covering the most important aspects of business and management. The course is internally assessed using a combination of written tests, presentations and a course portfolio (there are no formal, external exams). The final grade will be awarded as a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

This Diploma is underpinned with serious academic content and assessment, thereby giving leading universities confidence in its integrity and in their decisions to make conditional offers to our Diploma students. This is an excellent course for those who wish to go on to study Business or a Business-related undergraduate degree.

This Diploma is officially recognised by the UK Government – Ofqual registered qualification: No 601/8701/3; European Qualification Framework Level 4.

In order to gain entry to the best university possible, this course should be combined with one or more A-levels (for example, an A-level in your own language). Most students will also study IELTS and undertake the highly-regarded EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which will help their university application considerably.

Course modules

  • Managing Business Operations
  • Maximising Resources to Achieve Business Success
  • The Business Environment
  • Managing People in Organisations
  • Working in Teams
  • Effective Business Communications

Entry requirements

  • English level: IELTS 5.0+ or equivalent (B1)
  • Completion of equivalent Level 2 course, i.e. GCSEs or equivalent
  • Earlscliffe English and Mathematics entry tests
  • Interview

Small class sizes and intensive teaching

Even in the most popular subjects we insist on small classes. The reason for having small classes is very simple. The greater the amount of individual attention that the student receives, the greater the chances are that the student will achieve better grades. In a small class, teachers are able to get to know the students, no student is a passenger and everybody has to contribute. In addition, small classes create safe environments in which students are more willing to participate.

We allocate intensive, lesson-based teaching to each chosen subject, and this is complemented by a student’s own dedication outside the classroom. In our rigorous and well-structured lessons, meaningful and positive relationships are built, a determined work ethic is created and each student achieves their full potential.

English language support

EAL (English as an Additional Language) is a fundamental part of every lesson. The individual English language needs of each student are taken into account by their teacher and lessons are planned accordingly.

Our teachers are very experienced with EAL and they employ a wide range of methods to help support the development of the students’ English language skills. The specifics of the support will depend very much on each students’ needs and the course they are doing. For example, ITY students may have to read works of fiction and produce book reports, whereas A-level students will have to learn subject-specific terminology, in context, and take part in frequent vocabulary tests.

We also empower the students to be self-directing in improving their English language skills. Students are trained to use dictionaries and resources effectively and efficiently in order to support their own learning.

TRaC™ Testing System

Our TRaC™ (‘Test, Rank and Coach’) system of weekly, competitive testing is a key factor of Earlscliffe’s assessment and target-setting strategy.

Teachers set tests for each of the main subjects during the week. Papers are based on the week’s work and they are returned graded according to A-level or GCSE criteria, ranked according to the student’s relative performance in class, and followed up with coaching sessions to assist with continuous improvement as needed.

TRaC™ testing keeps students working at a consistent, measurable level and pace.
These weekly results are monitored by the student’s teachers as well as the Head of Department and the student’s Head of Year. Students soon get used to the system and regard it as a valuable tool. As a team, we are able to consistently assess our students’ knowledge and skills, and feel in control of learning.

TRaC™ scores are made available to parents and guardians through the Parent Portal (password protected). Please note that it is unusual for a student on any course to achieve all high grades in TRaC™ tests in the first few weeks of the course, as they need a little time to settle down and get used to the academic requirements, the language and the marking schemes.

Parents are encouraged to monitor TRaC™ performance and pass their comments and praise to their children accordingly. TRaC™ results can also be sent to guardians if wished. For a fuller discussion or explanation of your son or daughter’s TRaC™ test records please contact the Deputy Head:


Homework is completed in the evenings and at weekends. Students are allocated at least two hours each evening as quiet study time in their rooms, which is supervised by their House Managers. While many students do less homework on Saturdays, almost all students use Sundays to do some serious, extended study in their own time.

Each course module has an extended reading section, with books, articles and texts recommended as additional reference material. This information will be given to the students by the subject teachers and is also available on the school’s Independent Study website. Students have access to daily newspapers and weekly journals like ‘The Economist’, ‘The New Scientist’ and ‘The Spectator’ – titles they should be reading in their free time to improve their understanding of the wider issues relating to their academic subjects.


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination is a globally-recognised English language test, required for university entry and many other purposes. This must be taken by all students who do not hold a GCSE English Language qualification from a UK school.

All students, unless they are native English speakers, will attend IELTS lessons regularly to improve their English, even if they do not intend to go to a UK university. IELTS is taught by qualified teachers for between two and six lessons per week.

The IELTS exam can be taken at various points in the academic year. The examination has writing, reading, listening and speaking components. Most top UK universities will require an overall score of at least 6.5 or 7.0, with good scores in the writing and reading sections.

There is no limit on the number of times you can re-take the IELTS examination. It can be taken and then improved upon at the next exam sitting, and so on throughout the year if necessary. We expect the majority of students to attain a 6.5 or 7.0 within a year of starting their A-level studies with us.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

All Business Diploma students at Earlscliffe will do an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in addition to their A-levels. This qualification is excellent and is highly regarded as an ideal opportunity for the students to prepare for university. An EPQ is equivalent to an AS Level and adds weight to a student’s UCAS application.

The EPQ allows learners to study a topic area which extends their learning in their chosen area of study and enhances their independent research skills. Each student selects a project topic which will expand their learning in their field of study, in a related area, or a topic that is relevant to their own personal interests.

Each of the four units offers a different type of project: a dissertation, an investigation/field study, a performance, or an artefact. Learners will be assessed on their ability to plan, manage, complete and review their project. It can be completed over one or two years, and is assessed by the student’s supervisor from within the centre and externally moderated by the exam board.

Such is the importance we place upon this qualification that the students have timetabled EPQ lessons. They work in small groups and individually with a supervisor, who guides and facilitates them on their journey through the EPQ.

University and Careers

Each student at Earlscliffe will be given a considerable amount of support and guidance related to selecting the right courses and universities to apply to, completing and submitting their university applications, and working towards their chosen career.

For more information, including a complete list of university destinations which Earlscliffe students have gone on to, please click here: