Studying with us FAQs
The CLS Customer Service Team and Academic Team field all kinds of questions from current and prospective students. This pages answers common questions about CILEx Law School and the courses we offer.
If you have a question that is not answered here do get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01234 844 300.
Studying with CILEx Law School
Our offer stands out from the crowd due to the broad range of learning materials and the opportunity to submit work to tutors for marking. Below are some frequently asked questions we get in relation to what we offer.
CILEx Law School (CLS) offers a range of courses aimed at students wanting to pursue a career in the legal sector, including:
- Courses for CILEx exams: These prepare students to sit the exams set by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). CILEx exams are used to achieve qualifications leading to Associate and Graduate Membership of CILEx, although individual subjects can be studied for subject knowledge. There is a wide range of law and legal practice courses available at both Level 3 and Level 6. CILEx qualifications are widely recognised in the legal sector. The CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice is the entry-level paralegal qualification, which can be built upon by those wishing to qualify as Chartered Legal Executive lawyers. There is also a route for law graduates to qualify as Chartered Legal Executives
- Apprenticeships: find out more about becoming an apprentice
- Legal Secretarial courses: These courses allow students to develop or refine their secretarial skills and help them succeed in the legal environment. We offer different levels, based on existing qualifications and experience. Qualifications are jointly awarded by CILEx
- Postgraduate vocational courses in law: CLS has partnered with De Montfort University to offer a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) by distance learning and Legal Practice Course (PLC)/LLM in Legal Practice by open learning
- Courses for staff in the criminal justice sector: We deliver courses in criminal justice administration developed especially for police staff involved in the preparation and processing of prosecution cases. We also offer a specialist course in Disclosure, designed for Disclosure and Investigation Officers, Evidence Assessors and Decision Makers and staff in criminal justice units and prosecutorial agencies involved in considering material in criminal investigations
- Bespoke courses for public sector departments: We develop and deliver bespoke courses in specific areas of law to government departments. A current example is our contract with Highways England
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses: These courses are for CILEx members and help them fulfill their planned outcomes for the CPD year. They are updated annually
We offer flexible distance learning courses which allow you to study at your own pace, around your existing work and family commitments. Most of our courses allow you to enrol at any time, such as the CILEx courses and legal secretarial courses. The LLB in Legal Practice, De Montfort University Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course all have intakes at the beginning of the academic year. Apprenticeships generally start in January and September each year, but each vacancy is advertised by the employer according to when they want the apprentice to start.
Distance learning means that your course is conducted online and you study at your own pace. This gives you complete flexibility to study and work at the same time.
It does not mean that you are alone. CLS supports its students in many ways: students have direct email and phone access to our Academic Team, for example.
As a CLS student you have access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), the CLS Hub, and its course materials and forums.
You can access the CLS Hub by clicking on the ‘Student area/ CLS Hub’ tab at the top of the page. You will need to have your log-in details to hand.
We are commited to our students and we do our best to support them through difficult times. We have a number of ways we can help but we can’t do so if we don’t know what’s going on.
About distance learning
With the wide and ever-expanding variety of online courses available, it’s worth doing your homework on what supported distance learning at CLS entails.
If you are studying by distance learning it means that you are studying independently and aren’t going into a classroom regularly to be taught face to face as part of a study group. This allows you to study from anywhere at any time. Before enrolling on a distance learning course you should consider if the course is a right fit for you in terms of supporting your aspirations and whether it suits your disposition. Give a thought to the following:
- Is the course accredited? All our CILEx and legal secretarial courses are accredited and are on the national Qualifications and Credit Framework. Qualifications listed on this Framework have been reviewed, recognised and monitored by the regulatory bodies to ensure that they meet specific criteria and quality standards
- Does it suit my needs in terms of flexibility? From being able to work and study at the same time, to having the option to pay by intallments and break up your qualification into manageable chunks, we work hard to offer study choices to suit your circumstances
- Can I commit to the course requirements? You should check the course pages to see what each course entails including study time and assessment format
- What student support services do you offer? CLS uses a ‘supported distance learning’ model and our priority is supporting our students both online and off every step of the way during the time they are studying with us. Our expert team, many of whom have studied the courses themselves, are on hand to answer any questions you may have. Most of our courses include being set work for marking and feedback by specialist tutors
- What course materials and learning environment are available? We publish the manuals for most of our courses and they are kept up-to-date to reflect the latest developments. Our students also have access to a number of resources via the online Student Area, including forums to communicate with tutors and other students if they wish to do so
- Are there any other costs associated with the course? Depending on your course, you may have additional costs. For example, if you are doing CILEx courses and wish to sit an exam you may have exam registration or memberships costs which are set by and payable to CILEx directly
Far from it!
At CILEx Law School we describe our courses as being delivered by ‘supported distance learning’. This means that you are studying in your own time and at your preferred location, but you have access to a lot of resources and support from us. Our Academic and Customer Service Teams are with you as you go along. While the format, and therefore delivery, will vary depending on the course, the resources we offer includes:
- Our Academic Team – this team of experts in the legal field are available by phone, email or online to answer course queries or help you understand study topics
- Our Customer Service Team – often the first port of call for our students, all team members have studied/ are studying our courses and can give you tailored advice from course selection to where to find resources and materials
- Our Student Area – this e-learning platform gives you online access to a wealth of resources, which can range from multiple-choice quizzes to study exercises and webinars
- Our course materials – all of our courses come with tailored materials which we edit and publish
Distance learning was a term originally introduced to denote the fact that a course could be studied from anywhere (they were know as ‘correspondence courses’).
Online learning is the next generation, referencing the fact that the course is based on the use of online tools. These days the terms are used interchangeably and they both refer to self-study courses.
However, in all of our courses you get access to the Academic Team by phone, you can use our online forums to interact with both tutors and other students and you will also get your study exercises marked by specialist tutor, with feedback. The ability to submit work for marking is a crucial part of the learning process and a cornerstone of our offer. You will also receive physical course manuals to help you in your studies, and in our CILEx courses there are induction days and revision events.
So, we offer much more than just online learning (or e-learning) and therefore use the term distance learning.
Blended learning is used to refer to a mix of online learning and traditional face-to-face on-site learning. We could use this term for our CILEx courses which include face-to-face induction and revision sessions as well as professional skills workshops, but this is generally used for courses where there is a partly fixed schedule of classes (this description would be fit the format of our GDL and LPC courses where you are required to attend classes on set days).
When you study with CLS you have flexibility as to when and where you study and when you sit your exams.
Our resources vary according to the type of course. For example, our legal secretarial courses differ from our CILEx courses. Please refer to the course information on your selected course for a detailed list of resources. However, all of these courses provide:
- access to our Academic Helpline where members of our team can answer any query during office hours. Give them a call if you are struggling to understand a topic in your course manual or you are a bit unsure whether you are on the right track in answering a study exercise
- marking of study exercises by a specialist tutor. On most courses these are formative assessments which mean that they are designed to give you practice at answering exam-style questions, but they don’t count towards your final mark. These study exercises provide an excellent means of preparing for an exam since you can test your understanding of topics in the syllabus and get tutor feedback on your work
- access to the course forum where you can pose a question to the Academic Team and read questions and answers from other students who may have posed the same questions as you had in mind
We are accredited to deliver CILEx courses. Our courses are designed to prepare students for exams and assessments set by these awarding bodies. Please visit the course pages for further information on the assessment for your chosen qualification.
In some cases we have developed courses for particular markets and we issue the Certificate of Completion ourselves. In these cases the study exercises form the assessment for the course. These include our Introduction to Business Development and Marketing courses, and a number of courses developed for the criminal justice sector including the Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration and the CLS Specialist Course in Disclosure.
The main benefit is flexibility. You can fit your learning around other commitments. Most of our students combine studying with full-time work or have family commitments that would make it difficult to attend classes. Many, but by no means all of our students are employed in the legal sector and are using our courses to achieve qualifications to help them progress in their careers.
Distance learning means that study and work are both achievable – you don’t need to choose one or the other. It also means that you do not need to be within reach of a class-based course, or spend a lot of time travelling to lectures.
Other frequently asked questions
Follow the links for frequently asked questions relating to specific courses and qualifications:
Find out more
What is studying with CILEx Law School like? Janice Isaac shares her experience.