Choices at Post 16

Finishing Y11, Age 16+

There are a wide range of qualifications available when your child finishes their GCSEs. At age 16 your child can choose from:

Graphic showing the qualification options: A Levels, Apprenticeships, Technicals, BTECs

A Levels offer classroom-based learning across a range of academic subjects. A Levels can be completed either at school or college and involve written work and exams.

BTECs & Technicals offer learning linked to a specific career path, for example Information Technology or Sport but without the workplace experience an Apprenticeship offers. BTECs normally involve written work, coursework and exams. They can be studied at school or college.

Apprenticeships offer practical learning in the workplace often with a day spent studying in college. Find out more about Apprenticeships here

Finishing College or Sixth Form, Age 18+

At age 18 your child can choose from:

  • Higher and Degree Apprenticeships
  • Undergraduate Degree
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or Foundation Degrees
  • Employment

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships offer full time paid employment alongside degree level study. Successful learners will complete their apprenticeship with up to 5 years of industry experience plus a degree qualification.

Undergraduate Degrees offer academic study, typically written work and exams, across a wide range of subjects.

The Higher National Certificate is equivalent to the first year of a standard three-year university degree, studied over one year full time or two years part time.

The Higher National Diploma is equivalent to the first two years of a three-year standard degree course. This is normally studied as a full-time course over two years.

Foundation Degrees are also equivalent to the first two years of a standard university degree but offer the chance to ‘top up’ to a full university degree once completed. Foundation degrees are focused on specific professions instead of academic subjects, there are usually no set entry requirements and experience will be considered as part of an application.

Learners using a video camera

Top Tip

Find out if your child’s school or college has a careers adviser. A careers adviser will be able to give your family information on possible careers and the qualifications needed.

If your child’s school does not have a careers adviser they can access the National Careers Service to speak to an adviser over the telephone or online