What to Expect at Nacro Education | Alternative Education | Nacro
image of learner at education centre

What to expect at Nacro Education

At Nacro Education, we support you to achieve your ambitions. Through our apprenticeships, vocational, and technical courses, we’ll ensure you have the employability skills and knowledge you need to progress into the world of work or higher levels of study.


Our approach to learning

We recognise that every learner has a different learning style. Our study programmes are designed with you in mind. We work with leading industry experts, and collaborate with businesses to ensure every course is crafted to give you the skills and confidence you need.

Our expert tutors will support and guide you throughout your course, ensuring you achieve your potential and have the qualifications you need to succeed. We want you to be who you want to be. That’s our approach to learning.


Welcome to Nacro Education community

Being part of Nacro Education means you’re part of our learning community. We want you, and every other member of our community, to maximise the opportunities and learning experiences available, to help you broaden your skills – both personally and professionally.

We ask every person to adhere to our learner charter, an agreement outlining what we’ll provide for you, and what you’ll bring to our community.

Our learner charter

  1. Make every lesson enjoyable and challenging
  2. Set work which reflects our high expectations
  3. Be prompt and well prepared
  4. Not cancel lessons without ensuring work is set
  5. Negotiate and monitor targets with you
  6. Give you regular, timely feedback so that you know how to improve
  7. Foster employability skills of reliability, tenacity, and teamwork
  8. Set work which helps prepare you for exams and assessments
  9. Treat you with respect and help to make the learning environment a safe and inclusive place for everyone
  10. Celebrate your achievements with you.
  1. Take an active part in every lesson and demonstrate a positive attitude to learning
  2. Take responsibility for your own learning and stretch yourself to do more than you think you can
  3. Attend all lessons promptly and be well prepared
  4. Explain unavoidable absence and ensure missed work is covered
  5. Negotiate and monitor your own targets
  6. Act on feedback
  7. Practise employability skills
  8. Complete all work set on time
  9. Treat others with respect and help to make the learning environment a safe and inclusive place for everyone
  10. Take pride in your achievements.


Be safe. Be respectful. Be ready to learn.

image of service finder icon

Not currently a Nacro learner?

Apply for a course today.

Find your local centre

Term times

Find your Education Centre’s study term, half-term, and holiday dates below

Autumn 2022

6 September 2022 – 16 December 2022


24 October – 28 October 2022

Spring 2023

4 January 2023 – 6th April 2023


Leeds and Sheffield
13 February – 17 February 2023

Carlisle, Bolton, Longton, and Newcastle
20 February – 24 February 2023

Easter break 2023

7 April – Good Friday

10 April – Easter Monday


7 April – 14 April 2023

Autumn 2022

6 September 2022 – 16 December 2022


24 October – 28 October 2022

Spring 2023

3 January 2023 – 6th April 2023


Boston, Peterborough, and Spalding
13 February – 17 February 2023

Chatham, Middlesbrough, and Walsall
20 February – 24 February 2023

Easter break 2023

31 March – 10 April

7 April – Good Friday

10 April – Easter Monday


7 April – 14 April 2023

Please visit the Totton College website for more details on term dates.

Information for learners

As a learner within Nacro Education, we’re not only help you with your studies, but all aspects of learner life. From funding, to timetables, our supportive staff are available to advise and guide you through the whole process of application to starting your course.


Nacro Education student handbook 2023-24


How do I fund my course?

If you are a UK citizen and have been resident for the last three years you will not need to pay tuition or examination fees. If you are an EU/EEA national and were resident in the UK before the 1st January 2021, please advise us about your current settled or pre-settled status.

If you have received your pre-settled or settled status you’ll need to provide Nacro with a ‘share code’ to prove your status here in the UK – you can get your code from the UK government website.

Depending on your household income, you may also be able to get help towards travel, accommodation, essential equipment or childcare costs. We offer two kinds of financial support:

The Learner Discretionary Bursary – this can help with course related items. Speak to one of our advisors who’ll discuss your options and advise you on how to apply; we try to help as many learners as possible.

Vulnerable Learner Bursary – this is available if you live in care, are a care leaver, have your own right to Income Support or are on both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. If you meet any of the above criteria, get in touch and we’ll guide you through your options.

Please contact your local education centre for more details.

Care to Learn is intended to help young parents under the age of 20 to continue or start their education after the birth of a child. The scheme provides funding for Ofsted-registered childcare provision while the young parent is engaged in a study programme. For more information, and to see if you are eligible, visit the Care to learn website.

We have a long history of providing a supportive and nurturing environment for learners with all abilities and ages. Financial support is available to support learners with additional needs to continue their education with us. Our Skills for Life team can provide advice and guidance through your application.

Contact your local Nacro Education Centre for more information.

Your bursary will be paid once all eligible learners have provided all the required evidence, and once they have their own bank accounts.

Most learners will receive free school meals or £3.50 for each day they are timetabled in, paid into their own bank account – one week in arrears. Travel bursary is dependent upon where you live. Your bursary amount will be confirmed once your bursary is approved.

Learners must attend to receive the full amount of their bursary.

Studying at Nacro Education

When you study at Nacro Education, it’s not just about your course. We want to ensure a valuable and enriching experience through a combination of vocational training and work experience.

Your study programme will include:

Technical qualification

Entry Level or a Level 1 or 2 qualification such as BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, 90 Credit Diploma, Diploma, Extended Diploma, Cambridge Technical, City & Guilds or other professional qualifications that provides the main focus for your study programme.

One-to-one support

All learners have access to one-to-one support sessions, where you can discuss any issues, including your future and the steps needed to achieve your goals.

English and maths

These will be a key part of your study programme if you are aged 16-18 at the start of your programme and haven’t achieved a GCSE grade 4 (Grade C) or above in English and maths. Our teachers will work with you to achieve better grades, helping you to progress to the next stage of your education and chosen career.

Work experience

We know how important it is to combine practical work placements and activities with classroom-based study, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to undertake work experience while studying with us. Some study programmes dedicate a particular day each week to work-focused activities while others embed block placements into the academic year. Our specialist staff will support you to find a placement to complement your study programme. Alternatively, you can source your own arrangement.

Enrichment activities

You will be able to get involved in extra-curricular activities in the form of enrichments. From the Nacro Students’ Union to trips and supporting events, these activities enhance your CV and higher education applications

You can join the programme anytime through the academic year, but your course options will be limited the later you join in the year, as you wouldn’t have time to complete the full course.

Most timetables are a mix of full days and half days, typically split over three or four days a week.

Your timetable will be confirmed once you have completed your ‘Basic and Key Skills Builder’ (BKSB) English and maths assessments and enrolled on your vocational course. You will have set days for your vocational classes and these will not change.

Groups are kept quite small with the biggest groups being the English and maths groups. The size of the group depends on how popular the course is that year.

About my course

Work experience is a requirement for most courses, but this work placement could be internal or external. The amount of work experience depends on the offer from an external organisation. We would like you to do 10 days of work experience. This could be over two weeks or spread over a longer period.

This depends on your current English and maths qualifications. If you have a Grade 4 in English and maths, then no. However, if you do not then, yes, English and maths will be added to your programme. We offer GCSE English and maths, but also Functional Skills English and maths (which is recognised by employers). As part of your induction, when we know your grades and ‘Basic and Key Skills Builder’ (BKSB) assessment results, your English and maths levels will be discussed with you.

No. Learners can only complete one vocational course, per academic year.

Learner services

In addition to career support advisors, we have a dedicated section on iLearn for career advice. Covering everything from job applications, CV writing tips, gap years, and advice for applying to higher education, apprenticeships and employment.

We can help you map a learning or employment pathway for your career or goal, and invite you to regular events to speak to potential employers about your options and opportunities.

We also provide dedicated enrichment activities to help make your personal and professional profile stand out from the crowd. Visit your employment advisor for more details.

We are renowned for our learner support services and will be there every step of the way to ensure your learning experience is the best that it can be.

Support can come in many forms, from advice and guidance about a particular issue, to progress coaching, counselling, career guidance and learning support.

We have staff who are available to offer help and advice to all learners wanting to discuss any issues affecting them. Make sure to contact your Education Centre, and speak to your tutor.

You can also see our safeguarding policy for more information.

At Nacro every learner on one of our study programmes will get the chance to do a work placement or to have one planned for the future. We’re all about getting you ready for work. Our centres can also offer workplace traineeships to learners under the age of 24. As a trainee, you can spend up to six months on a work placement that may lead to a job.

Have your say

At Nacro we work hard to listen to and act upon our learners’ views. There are many ways you can participate. All learners can join Nacro’s Students’ Union. We also have a Community Voice Co-ordinator who ensures our leadership team gets your feedback and acts on it.

Email us to find out more.

Enterprise and innovation

Recognising the importance of real work, our specialised programmes give you the skills and experience to move into a job, a traineeship or an apprenticeship at the end of your qualification. We work with employers to simulate the working environment in a wide range of industries, offering you a high-quality work placement and giving you an employment reference.

image of publications icon 2

Can't find what you’re looking for?

Search all our publications.

Publications library