Post 16 Options | Further Education
Since 2013, students who finish school in Year 11 must go onto further education, training, or employment until the age of 18. There are many options available when you turn 16, look at what option best suits you and your situation, strengths, and interests.
After finishing your GCSEs in Year 11, you might be considering your next steps. The good news is that you have a few options, they are:
- Stay at your current school’s sixth form and study either A Levels or Vocational qualifications (BTECs)
- Go to a separate sixth form or College and study A Levels or Vocational qualifications (BTECs or NVQs)
- Start an apprenticeship
- Start a traineeship
- Go to a specialist college – these usually focus on subjects such as dance, drama, or agriculture
- Volunteer for at least 20 hours per week, whilst in part-time education or training
You may be eligible for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, which can help with things like books, travel, or equipment if you will struggle with education or training costs.
After you have completed your GCSEs, you have the option to continue studying and complete your A levels. You may wish to stay at the school you’ve attended from year 7 or you may wish to choose a new sixth form at a different school. Some schools offer different subject choices so it is always worth having a look around, especially if you have a career path in mind that requires you to study specific subjects.
During your time in Sixth form, you can study from either a wide range of A levels or vocational BTEC courses so that you can choose the type of learning that suits you best. A levels are a mixture of coursework and examinations, whereas BTECs are coursework based with no exam.
You may wish to stay at the school you’ve attended from year 7 or you may wish to choose a new sixth form at a different school. Some schools offer different subject choices so it is always worth having a look around, especially if you have a career path in mind that requires you to study specific subjects.
At the end of Year 13, you will be given individual career support to ensure that you can move onto the next stage of your career journey. This may help with the UCAS application process if you wish to go to university or help with securing an Apprenticeship or employment opportunity.
College provides a different environment to school and sixth form, it is a more grown-up and relaxed setting. Due to this, you are given more freedom and independence but it requires you to take more responsibility for your learning and development.
Mainstream colleges offer a wide range of courses to suit all levels of learning. For example:
- Academic courses (A-Levels, GCSEs).
- Vocational courses (such as BTECS).
- "Stepping stone" courses in Maths and English.
- Courses which combine study with on-the-job training or work experience.
- "Life skills" courses to help young people prepare for adult life, work, and participating in the community.
There are some colleges in Buckinghamshire and surrounding areas that provide specialist courses, there are opportunities to study courses such as Motor Sport and Farming through to Sports Therapists. Most colleges also offer more than educational opportunities, often there are arts, leisure and sports, and many more activities for you to get involved with.
You should receive information and advice about the courses available in time for you to make a decision. It is really important to talk this through with your parent or carer.
A specialist further education college (FE) is a college that is for students with SEN only. There are often residential facilities available and provide a walking day or 24-hour curriculum.
SPE colleges are only available to students with SEN and you must have an EHC plan. During the annual review that takes place between Year 11 and starting Year 12, you would need to name the specialist college you would like to go to.
The local authority where you live may decline your request due to the cost and you may have to show that there are no other appropriate education options available.