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Education or training at 16 and 17

The law has changed and young people now have to continue in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. And from 2015 this will be until their 18th birthday.

This is known as raising the participation age (RPA) - the Government’s new policy to give all young people the opportunity to develop their skills and qualifications, and supporting them to secure employment or progress to higher education.

What does this mean for me?

  • if you left Year 11 in summer 2013 you will need to continue in education or training until at least the end of the academic year in which you turn 17

  • if you started Year 11 in September 2013, you will need to stay in education or training until at least your 18th birthday.

What are the education or training options?

When you leave secondary education, there are lots of options available. You can choose from:

  • full-time education at college, sixth form college or school sixth form
  • work based learning, such as an apprenticeship or foundation learning
  • part-time education or training if you are employed, self employed or volunteer for 20 or more hours a week.

Why should I stay in education or training longer?

Staying in education or training will mean that you will be more qualified, which will give you better job prospects in the future. There is also a big pay gap between people with qualifications, and those without.

Deciding what to do

It is important that you take the time to research which option is best for you.

  • What learning style suits you best? Do you like being in a classroom? Do you prefer practical subjects? Do you prefer exams or course work, or possibly a mixture of both?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? What subjects do you enjoy?
  • What would you like to do in the future? Think about where the course, work based learning or job will take you.

Speak to your parents/carers, teachers and careers adviser to help you decide what to do. Don’t choose courses just because your friends are choosing them.

Other qualifications at 16

In addition to A Levels, a variety of other qualifications are available and include the following.

BTEC Level 2 Diploma

This is a one year vocational course equivalent to four GCSEs A*- C. If necessary, you may be able to re-sit GCSE English, maths or science if you achieve grade D or below at school.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

This is a two year vocational course equivalent to one A Level and would be taken alongside other qualifications as part of a full college or sixth-form study programme. You need to have achieved five GCSEs at A* - C including English, maths and sometimes science.

BTEC Diploma

This is a two year vocational course which is equivalent to two A Levels, giving you the opportunity to take another course alongside it. You need to have achieved five GCSEs at A* - C, including English, maths and sometimes science.

BTEC Extended Diploma

This is a two year vocational course which is equivalent to three A Levels. You will need to have achieved five GCSEs at A* - C, including English, maths and sometimes science.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

This programme enables you to study a wider range of subjects, including English, maths, science, languages, humanities and visual arts. As part of the course, you are required to complete additional activities including an extended essay and involvement in community projects. You need to have at least five GCSEs A* – C as a minimum entry requirement. If you are considering this, you should explore this option with colleges and universities to ensure it is appropriate for your higher education ideas.

BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (pre-degree)

This is offered to students who have achieved A Levels or other Level 3 qualifications and are looking to apply to a university to study an Art and Design degree.

See college websites for more details.  

 

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