Further education (post 16)

As a young person, you will need to make decisions about the next phase of your education choices as you move through secondary school.  After year 11 you could choose to stay in school, go to a sixth form college, go to a further education (FE) college, or with a training provider. This article contains information on post-16 education options. For more information about work experience, traineeships or apprenticeships read this article

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When you can leave school

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you are 16 by the end of the summer holidays.  However, you must then do one of the following options until you’re 18: 

  • stay in full-time education or in a study program  

  • volunteering or a paid job (which is defined as 20 or more hours a week) with part-time study (read more here)

  • training with some additional study for example traineeship or internships (read more here)

  • paid work with on the job training, for example, an apprenticeship (read more here)

If you did not get a grade 4-9 in your GCSE English and maths, you must continue to study English and maths at your chosen post 16 provision.  However, you may be able to study this as functional skills or other qualifications in these subjects if it is more appropriate.  

Functional skills are practical skills in English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) that enables students to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work. 

If you are not sure what direction to take and would like further reading careerpilot website has some information that can help you think about your options.   

Staying in full-time education   

You may decide to continue in full-time education either at a sixth form attached to a school, sixth form college or at a further education college.  

If you are still at school you should have an opportunity to meet with your school careers advisor.  They can provide independent advice and guidance about the post 16 options available in your area.  

You can visit the national careers service website for further help and support, you can use their telephone helpline or their webchat. 

Your parents or carers can support you by visiting the Careerpilot parent zone where they will pick up lots of useful information.  

Considering your education choices  

In preparing to make your education choices you will have the opportunity to listen to employers and other employees, maybe attend a career fair (e.g. Ambitions) and practice writing your CV at school.  You should also speak to your tutors, teachers and other staff in school who know you well enough to be able to advise you about the most suitable option that fits with your interests and abilities. 

You can also get advice on education choices by visiting the Careerpilot website. 

When choosing the subjects, you wish to study, you may consider:   

  • what subjects interest you, what will be covered, and will you enjoy studying it? 

  • how will you learn, and your learning will be assessed through exams, portfolio or by observation? 

  • do you need particular qualifications to be allowed to study at your chosen education setting and what qualification will you achieve e.g. is it an A Level, GCSE, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, apprenticeship?  

  • are you likely to achieve the right grades to get onto the subject you wish to study?  

  • how will you travel to the place where you wish to study?  

  • what is the progression afterwards from this subject?  

Find further education providers   

Search for sixth form colleges, further education colleges or schools with a sixth form in our online directory   

Search for training providers on careerpilot website

If you have special educational needs or a disability you may find our education transitions booklets helpful. 

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