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Uniformed Protective Services

  • Equivalent to one ‘A’ Level
  • Four units
    -Two mandatory (one externally marked)
    -Two units selected by the college
  • Two blocks per week – 4hrs 20mins (plus homework and independent research)
  • Students can achieve grades at PASS, MERIT or DISTINCTION
  • This qualification is designed to support learners who are interested in learning about the uniformed protective services sector. It gives them a broad basis of study, designed to support progression to higher education when taken as part of a programme of study that includes other BTECs and A levels.
  • Several of the uniformed protective services now offer Apprenticeship schemes and students who have studied this programme have the advantage of engagement with those services as part of the curriculum, and an insight into how those services operate.


The Extended Certificate is a two-year course and is the equivalent of 1 A level. The course consists of four units (two of which are mandatory and one which is externally marked through an examination). The units have been selected so that there is a strong balance between practical and theoretical units.

Year 1

The first year of the programme involves two units – one is a mandatory unit required by the exam board (both are internally assessed)

  • Unit 5 – Teamwork, Leadership and Communication in the Uniformed Protective Services
    • This is a mandatory unit where learners study the dynamics of team building and leadership. Students participate in team-building activities and learn methods of communication used by the uniformed protective services.
    • The armed services will support some elements of this unit – particularly in relation to teamwork and communication
    • An immersive learning exercise supported by members of the Uniformed Protective Services will be the main form of assessment for this unit. Students will work in groups to manage the response to a major incident such as an oil terminal disaster or a terrorist incident
    • Practical exercises in teamwork, leadership and communication led by the college and external providers
    • The unit is internally assessed through coursework


  • Unit 11 – Expedition Skills
    • In this unit, students investigate the different types and purposes of expeditions
    • They will study historical and current expeditions to understand the factors that affect the development of expeditions
    • Students will plan and participate in an expedition (two days and one night on Cannock Chase) and gain skills in camp craft, use of equipment, navigational skills and first aid
    • They will create a risk assessment for their expedition and agree a route, working in groups
    • Once they have completed a practice and main expedition, students reflect on their performance and complete a development plan aimed at improving their performance in key areas.
    • There is a cost to the student for participating in the expedition (between £75-100 but the college do have some equipment)
    • The unit is internally assessed through coursework


Year 2

The second year involves two units – one optional and one mandatory. Both units are internally assessed.

  • Unit 10 – Skills for Outdoor Activities in the Uniformed Protective Services
    • By far the most popular (and fun) unit. For this unit, learners need to access two different outdoor activities. Ideally, this will be one water-based activity and one land-based activity. Learners develop the underpinning skills and knowledge relevant to best practice and managing risk when participating in outdoor activities.
    • Students research, plan, participate, reflect and develop their skills in relation to:
      • Orienteering (6-mile circular course beginning and ending at Hartshill Hayes, Nuneaton)
      • High Ropes (Go-Ape) (Cost involved)
      • White Water rafting (Matlock, Derbyshire) (Cost involved)
      • College led outdoor activities
      • This unit is internally assessed through bespoke assessment booklets
    • Unit 2 – Behaviour and Discipline in the Uniformed Protective Services
      • Learners investigate factors that can affect behaviour and their impact on the discipline of individuals in the uniformed protective services
      • The armed services and Warwickshire Fire Service support some elements of this unit – students will engage with the armed services through practical activities and will visit fire stations to participate in service-related activities
      • Guest speakers
      • Case studies
      • This unit is externally assessed through a 2hr written examination in May


What will I be taught?

The qualification is intended to carry UCAS points and is recognised by higher-education providers as contributing to admission requirements for many protective services-related courses. When combined with other qualifications in a two-year study programme, such as A Levels or another BTEC National qualification, learners can progress to higher education in a range of disciplines, for example:

•BA (Hons) in Applied Psychology and Criminology, if taken alongside A Levels in Psychology and Sociology

•BA (Hons) in Social Work, if taken alongside A Levels in Sociology and Psychology

•BSc (Hons) in Fire Engineering, if taken alongside the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science

•BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science, if taken alongside A Levels in Biology and Chemistry

•LLB (Hons) in Law, if taken alongside A Levels in History and Law.

Learners should always check the entry requirements for degree programmes with the providers.

Based on research into how students learn best, each subject will set independent work to allow you to recap what you have done in the past, consolidate understanding for what you are studying in the present and develop the skills and experiences which will help you for the future. You can read more about the college’s approach to independent study here

The Past
Click here for the suggested ongoing revision activities in this subject which research has shown are most likely to boost your achievement

The Present
Each subject will set weekly homework tasks to help you consolidate your understanding and prepare for your next lesson. This work is typically set through Microsoft Teams, so you will have an electronic log of all your work, notes and feedback.

The Future
A key part of your independent work in this subject will be to prepare for a range of potential jobs and higher education courses when you leave us. To get started, look below at the top higher education courses and jobs which previous students of this course have gone on to do.

The UPS Extended Certificate is the equivalent of one A Level and carries UCAS points. Studying UPS is a gateway to a career in the Uniformed Protective Services – many are offering excellent apprenticeships (such as the Police Apprenticeship Scheme).  Students often go on careers in the Police, Fire or Armed Services as well as the Prison and Probation Services. Whichever route you ultimately choose – this course will help you to develop numerous transferable and higher-order skills such as research, presentation and communication skills, and the ability to be resourceful and work collaboratively – skills that are highly regarded by employers and universities.

5 x GCSE grades 4-9 (incl. English Language)

Not essential but it will help your success…

An interest in the Uniformed Protective Services such as the Police, Fire Service, Armed Services and Prison Service. Commitment to working in an organised way.

Pairs well with Criminology, Law, Sports and Sociology

Students receive 4hrs 20 mins of face to face lessons as part of their overall timetable but are expected to also complete homework, tasks and projects throughout the two year course.


Most units in the sector are internally assessed and subject to external standards verification. This means that teachers set and assess the assignments that provide the final summative assessment of each unit.

Unit 2, Behaviour and Discipline in the Uniformed Protective Services is externally assessed in Year 1. This means that students will sit a 2hr exam in college and their papers will be sent to the examination board for assessment. There are opportunities to resit the exam during the year.

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