Your options at 16

Everyone now has to continue in education or training until they are 18 – but there are options beyond staying in school. Find out where you could go next...

Full-time education
Full-time education in a school sixth form or college is the most common route at 16. There are a few different courses you could do:
  • A levels: The most common route if you want to go to university, although not the only one. You'll pick three or four subjects that you are particularly interested in, and study them for two years. (If you live in Scotland, you'll do Highers instead.)
  • International Baccalaureate: A two-year course covering a wider range of subjects than A-levels, some of which are compulsory.
  • Cambridge Pre-U: A two-year course, made up of three main subjects of your choice and coursework.
  • Foundation learning: If you don't yet have the qualifications to take the next step you want, foundation learning can help to fill in the gaps. Different programmes are available in different areas, so contact your college or local council to find out more.
Getting a job plus part-time education or training
If you are working or volunteering for at least 20 hours each week, you can do part-time training. This can lead to a vocational qualification like an NVQ or a BTEC.
An apprenticeship combines a job with study towards a qualification. They're available across a wide range of industries, from ICT to the Civil Service.

Apprenticeships come in a variety of levels, and while they're intended mainly to prepare you for a career, you can go on to university with the qualification you get.
A traineeship combines work experience with training in employability skills. Traineeships last for up to six months. They're designed for people who want to start an apprenticeship or a full-time job, but who don't yet have enough skills or experience.
Financial support
If you need financial support while you study, you might be able to get the 16-19 bursary. This helps to cover things like study materials and transport.
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