Leaving school

Make the right decisons

Leaving school can be quite daunting so it's important your son/daughter takes the time to make the right decisions about what comes next.


  • Progress to the sixth form at school
    Many schools have a sixth form, where pupils aged 16-18 study A levels, or equivalent qualifications such as BTECs. Entry requirements for a place at sixth form are usually five GCSEs at grade C or above. The majority of subjects are mostly academic based and include English, maths, science, history, geography, economics, law, psychology, chemistry, physics, biology, French, Spanish, German. Many students choose to stay at school and go into the sixth form at 16 rather than enrol at a different sixth form.
  • Go to a further education college
    At further education colleges students can study a range of courses such as A levels and BTECs. Further education colleges are usually popular for the more practical and vocational courses such as construction, sport, hairdressing. People of any age can attend - these colleges are also popular for mature students who are undertaking an Access course. Unlike sixth form where students tend to study about four different subjects, further education college students usually study just one.
  • Start training for the workplace
    Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to 'earn while you learn'. Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. They also receive training towards nationally recognised qualifications on a day-release basis.
  • Look for a job
    Many students are keen to enter the workplace as soon as they leave school. It's important they have consider the sector they want to work in and develop their skills at completing an application form and writing a good covering letter.

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You can help your son/daughter with their decisions - sit down and have a chat about some of the following areas:

  • what they are good at and what they enjoy - most people do better when they study a subject they like
  • whether they want to learn something new - for many courses, they may not need any previous experience
  • what course structure will suit them - do they prefer exams or assessments throughout the year like coursework?
  • how they learn best - do they prefer lectures, classroom discussions, or practical workshops?
  • where the course will lead - does it fit in with their long-term plans?