At this time of year you’ll be exploring your options and considering the right pathway for you after your Y11 studies. Many people do choose to stay on at school into the school sixth form but there are other choices too, like studying at a college, external sixth form college, training provider or getting a job with training. What is important is to get the course or training to suit your skills and aspirations.
After GCSEs there are three main pathways to choose from and making the decision between the different pathways needs careful thought.
SCHOOL SIXTH FORM
In the region there are schools with their own sixth forms, offering courses which are designed to follow on from GCSEs. Most school sixth forms offer a wide range of Level 3 courses, with A Level, BTEC and Technical Level 3 courses on offer for students to choose from.
FE COLLEGE & EXTERNAL SIXTH FORM
A college / sixth form college will offer you a different learning environment to that experienced at a school’s sixth form. One of the first things noticeable at any further education college is that the range of courses is much wider. Most colleges offer A levels as do sixth forms, but also have a huge number of other qualifications available in different subjects and at different levels. Not all colleges, however, will offer the same ‘mix’ of subjects so it’s very important to check carefully what is available locally.
More apprenticeships are now available, with the government offering employers incentives to take on young apprentices. With an apprenticeship, if you’re aged 16 to 18 you work for an employer for no more than 40 hours a week, receive a wage and on-the-job training, plus you’ll study at college for a nationally recognised qualification. This college study has to be within your 40 hours working week and your employer will pay you a wage to cover your working hours, including the time you’re at college studying. You can even progress onto Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships.
JOB OR VOLUNTEERING (with training)
If you’re working, in self-employment or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week you can also study part-time as well to support you in further improving your work skills. For example, day release at a local college to study motor vehicles if you’re working in a garage.
If you’re volunteering, many organisations will offer you an opportunity to gain a formal qualification while you volunteer.
Check out the Student and Work and Education areas on the website for more info!