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I would encourage anyone interested in getting to university to go ahead and enrol as the course works well.
Helen, Glasgow
“Do not delay it is a fantastic course, well explained and the material is good.”
Paul, Ealing
“My mentor is knowledgeable and helpful with solving my queries. It's a good way to get into uni as a mature student.”
Emily, Birmingham
“The Access to HE course is well thought out both in terms of content and delivery and it's reasonably priced.”
Abdul, Leicester
“My tutor is lovely, gives kind and encouraging support.”
Karen, Cornwall

How to get on to a degree course, even without A levels

A home-study 'Access to HE' course is the way to do it.

  • Did you leave school at 16 or 17, with poor A levels or just a handful of GCSEs? Perhaps you didn’t like school?

  • Perhaps you felt studying wasn’t for you? You were restless. You felt more at home in the world of work?

  • You wanted to earn money, to get on with your life. Perhaps you lacked confidence when you were a teenager and didn’t think A-levels or higher education were for you? Perhaps you made some wrong choices or fell ill at the wrong time?

Fast forward five or ten years. You’ve been working hard, bringing up a family, or both. You might or might not be happy with your life, but feel you are in a rut or could improve your chances. You’ve gained a more mature view on life and what you found hard at 16 no longer seems so daunting.

Maybe you took a few training courses already and did well. You decide you want more for yourself – a trained profession you can be proud of and which you’ll find rewarding. You could feel strongly drawn to a vocation.

You might want to be a nurse, a midwife, a social worker or a physiotherapist?

These thoughts start as vague dreams, but slowly they become a goal. You know the uni degree you need to accomplish them. Your quandary is how to get into university in the first place.

Here's the problem:

  • You probably can’t see yourself going back to college full time.
  • You can’t afford to stop work.
  • Part-time college in the evening or weekends isn't practical if you have a family to care for or a job to do.
  • Yet you need a university degree to enter the profession of your dreams.

So what can you do?

Is there an alternative to A-levels and classroom courses?

Yes, there is. It's called 'Access to Higher Education'.

Access to HE is a one-year course that gives you the equivalent of good A levels. Most universities accept this qualification. It's your way into university.

Unfortunately most colleges teach this course during the day time, with fixed class times.

But we specialise in home study. With us you can learn at home, at your own pace, with your own tutor.

You won't have to sit in a classroom with 17-year olds.

Distance learning is an increasingly popular choice for people for all types of courses, including university ones.

It allows you to study at home or in a local library. and it lets you reach the same level as those who sat A-levels or studied on a college campus.

In addition, distance learning can empower you. You learn to develop your capacity to study. It will help your overcome any residual fear you might have of not appearing “good enough”, of being too old, or ‘past it’.

If you have the will and feel called to do a certain job in life, you are good enough, young enough and bright enough.

Access Health Professions

Access to Higher Education Health Professions You can access the course on PC, tablet or your phone; and there is a printed edition. The course contains videos, quizzes, self assessment exercises and useful booklets.

School leaver?

If your A levels weren't what you expected, you may not want to sit retakes in your old school.

We warmly welcome school leavers. You're probably used to blended learning, with your teachers putting content on to a VLE. If so, you'll like our portal (it's rather nice).

At the Blackford Centre we treat everyone like an adult. And we know how to get you the grades you'll need for university.

Not like all the rest

Some distance learning courses are run like conventional classroom courses. They have fixed start and end dates, with assignments and exams rigidly timetabled. They charge additional fees for assignments or extra tuition. And their portals can be a bit old fashioned. That's to say, not interactive.

Our Access to Higher Education course is different. It's fully flexible and tailored around your needs and lifestyle.

You can enrol whenever you want, and go at the pace that suits you best.

All you need is internet access, dedicated study time and the commitment to fulfil your dreams.

Personalised support

On the Access to HE course, you’ll work with a personal tutor who will make sure you understand what you’re studying and that you complete your assignments.

Your tutor will get you ready to apply for a university degree to study at university by the time you set for yourself.

Your tutor will specialise in teaching people like you to pass the exams and get into university. We choose our tutors to be specially caring, supportive and experienced. You'll send in assignments to your tutor, who will carefully assess them and return them to you with helpful comments.

As well as your tutor, we offer friendly and encouraging telephone support. You'll have a named course advisor whom you can phone if you're unsure about anything. We encourage you to develop a good relationship with your course advisor and your tutor, in order to maximise your learning potential and everything that the Access to Higher Education course offers.

You can engage with other learners

Studying away from a campus can feel lonely at times. There will be days when you feel you need informal help, advice on your studies, or a simple chat.

Through the Blackford Centre student forum, you will be able to network with your peers online - for support, mutual help and study tips.

This isn't a compulsory part of the course, but many find it helpful.

The course is interactive

Some courses offer you pages of dull text. Ours is different, and much more interesting.

  • You can choose either the online version or the added advantage of having printed materials delivered to your door.
  • There are videos which explain things in a way that text or a teacher can't.
  • You get fun quizzes, flash cards and links to other material.
  • And our text is down to earth, just like this web page. If you're still reading (and you are!) we can get you into university.

We offer state-of-the art quizzes for the regular self-assessments you must complete to make sure you’re on track and understand the issues involved. We upload videos and other elements in the course that make it an amazing experience for you. You’ll receive online and hard copy study materials, a free study planner and a study tips booklet.

Help with UCAS

Once you’re ready to apply to university, our dedicated UCAS team helps you navigate the UCAS portal and application form and complete your personal statement.

We then submit your UCAS form for you.

If you have to take some extra courses in English and Maths, we can offer those too – for free.

Let’s talk finance

You can pay for your Access to Higher Education course in one lump sum or in instalments over 10 months. There's no extra cost involved in the instalments, and no credit check. So you can pay as you earn.

And there’s a 60-day money back guarantee if you realise the course is not for you within the first two months.

Why the Blackford Centre?

We have 25 years’ experience helping students of all ages and backgrounds accessing their goals. We offer a range of online courses and our professionalism has been recognised, as our Access to Higher Education course is fully recognised by the QAA, the Quality Assurance Authority for Higher Education.

Over the years we have built expertise in a number of different career subjects and skills. In particular, we have recognised proficiency in teaching health, mental health, healthcare, nutrition, counselling, child-centred disciplines, applied sciences, design, business and management, marketing and different types of writing.

We offer all-inclusive packages, without hidden fees – that means all your study and support resources, any extra help you might need with Maths and English, all your assignments, your tutor and study adviser – all are covered by the course fee.

Learning gradually

The course is based on graduated learning. This means that you will be guided through steps of gradually increasing difficulty.

You'll learn at your own pace and, should you need it, you will be able to ask for additional support. The course materials and contents are stimulating. They're designed not only to impart knowledge, but to inspire your curiosity and empower your capacity to direct your own study and career path.

How to choose your course

Before you pick an Access to HE course, you need to ensure that chosen university and degree will accept it. Given the huge number of universities and undergraduate courses in the UK this could be an entire study in itself!

If you're not sure where to start, our advisers can help you narrow down your choices so that they match your career goals most closely.

Get to know the admissions requirements for the career you wish to pursue so that you can always keep in mind what you’re working towards.

Our course advisers can also help you if you know exactly the university and degree you are aiming for and advise you on which Access to Higher Education pathway you should choose to reach your objective.

For instance, if you want to obtain a nursing degree, you ought to take the Access to Higher Education for Healthcare Professionals. Your tutor and course materials will be suitable for the goal of becoming a nurse.

About us

In operation since 1995, the Blackford Centre offers a range of distance learning courses. We offer accredited courses with tutor support and assessment. All our tutors are active practitioners in their field, who bring their on-the-job experience to each course. You'll get advice directly from active professionals, not armchair theorists.

To know more about our values, read our Ethical Statement.

About you

In order to enrol you must be a UK resident. There are no age restrictions and no other requirements, except for your commitment and enthusiasm and the ability to do the course.

If you aren't feeling confident, that's OK. Almost all our learners feel anxious. Talk to Emma, our sympathetic course advisor.


You can register at any time and start when it suits you. Why not now?

Interest in Access to HE

Call today

Call us today on 0800 781 17 15 (or +44 1373 470270 from outside the UK) to speak to an adviser and discuss your career and course options.