Options for Year 11s

What are the options?

Since 2015, it has been mandatory for all UK students to remain in education until the age of 18. However there are several routes students can choose from, in order to achieve this.

At age 16 you could choose from: -

  • A Levels - Level 3 qualifications which use exam based assessments. Typically students choose around 3 or 4 subjects to study at A level.

  • T Levels - Level 3 qualifications. T Levels are technical courses which are equivalent to 3 x A Levels, new in 2020. Developed in collaboration with employers so course content meets the needs of industry. T Levels combine classroom work (80%) with an extended 45-day industry placement (20%) so young people gain both knowledge and skills. They open the door into skilled employment, further study, a higher apprenticeship or a degree.

  • International Baccalaureate - Level 3 qualification with core modules and elective modules. See section at the bottom of this page.

  • BTEC - Level 1, 2 or 3 qualifications which are assessed through a portfolio of work and observations.

  • Apprenticeship - Intermediate (Level 2); Advanced (Level 3); or Higher (Level 4-6). You will typically be in paid employment for four days per week and study towards a qualification through flexible or online learning.

  • Traineeship - A scheme for helping young people gain work skills before they move onto an apprenticeship or a job.

  • Work with training - You can work for an employer, and the employer must allow you time to be able to study an accredited course (this can be flexible e.g. evenings, weekends, distance learning) for a minimum of 280 hours per calendar year.

Which level of course should I apply for?

This chart gives an outline of UK qualification levels, general entry requirements and progression opportunities available after each level is successfully completed. If you plan to apply for a course, you will need to check that you fulfil the establishment's entry requirements. Click on the thumbnail image on the left to see the full-size chart.

Searching & Applying for courses

To help you search for local colleges or sixth forms, you should look at the individual school or college website. Typically you will find the application page either under their sixth form section, or within the course search. You can also use: -

  • National Careers Service Course Directory

  • For a specialist Further Education college, Natspec has a directory of courses for students with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Student and Parents' Guide

Achieving for Children has a Next Steps Pack for those who need extra support with learning or employability support

Which subjects are best?

Watch this Russell Group video (6:32mins) to see how your choice of courses at Post 16 can affect your future and getting a place in a top university.

Students can use the useful matching tool on the Informed Choices website to help them understand how to combine subjects they love, to get into the degree they want.

What are T Levels?

T Levels are a new qualification designed with employers. They follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A Levels. The first T Levels launch in selected schools and colleges in September 2020 with more following in later years.

T Levels combine classroom work with an extended industry placement so young people gain knowledge and skills needed to move into skilled work, an apprenticeship or further study.

What is the International Baccalaureate?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is an internationally recognised qualification for students aged 16 to 19. It is based on a study of a range of subjects and leads to a single qualification, rather than separate qualifications. The IB Diploma is a leader in international education and is recognised by universities in 140 countries.

The IB Diploma is a 2-year course, at Level 3 (comparable with A Level) and is designed to encourage you to: learn how to learn; ask challenging questions; develop a strong sense of your own identity and culture; and develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.

The IB Diploma Programme is made up of a compulsory 'core', plus six optional subjects:

  • Compulsory core elements: theory of knowledge, extended essay, CAS (creativity, action, service)

  • Optional subjects: first language, second language, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer science, the arts, individuals and society

Colleges across London offer the IB Diploma, as well as other areas in the UK and internationally. Use the website ucasprogress to find local colleges where you can study the IB Diploma.

Click on the image on the left to see the full-size version.

Information for Parents and Carers: Supporting your child through the process

To help you support your child in their search for local colleges, 6th forms, apprenticeships, or work with training: -

  • UCAS Progress have developed a page for parents supporting their child through the process of applying for their post-16 education or employment.

  • The Careers Writers Association have developed a website where they bring together lots of information to help parents understand more about the processes and choices their child must make.