Once your son/daughter has finished year 11 there are a number of different ways they can continue with their education. For many young people, this may be the first time they are making an important decision that will affect their future, therefore it is important that they decide on a direction that is right for them. Parents and carers will usually receive questions from their child about what to do next and will need your support.
All young people in England aged 16 and over must continue with some form of education or training. They can:
- Study a full-time study programme in a College,
- 6th form or other training institution
- Undertake an Apprenticeship or Traineeship
- Work or volunteer whilst studying part-time
Full time study
Full-time study is the most popular choice for students after they finish their GCSEs.
Generally there are two routes available, depending on how your son/daughter prefers to study – vocational courses and individual subjects:
Vocational courses – designed to prepare the learner for a specific trade or industry, these qualifications include BTECs, NVQs and Cambridge Technicals and are ideal for those who want to combine theory work with practical, hands on learning and experience.
Individual subjects – these qualifications include A Levels and other subject based programmes like the International Baccalaureate. If your son/daughter prefers more of a theory approach to learning, then these may be ideal. A Levels are now studied over two years, with exams taking place at the end of the second year. In the majority of subjects, coursework does not count towards the final grade – it is therefore important to know that unless the full two years are studied, no qualification will be gained.
Another important factor to take into consideration is that both routes can ultimately lead onto the University path, should your son/daughter wish.
Level 3 vocational qualifications are the equivalent of A Levels, for example, a full BTEC Level 3 course studied for 2 years at Peterborough Regional College is the equivalent of 3 A Levels studied in a 6th form.