Options summary and when to apply
Your main options are further education, apprenticeships and jobs.
Traineeships (provide a link to the apprenticeships and traineeship section) are an option if you want to work but need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships will give you the opportunity to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require.
For more information about your options after Year 11, check out the Icould videos. The Icould videos include people talking about their own choices at 16 and has articles about your options.
When to apply?
If applying to colleges, aim to apply by Christmas as some colleges fill up quickly! Check the course entry requirements and it is advisable to attend open days/evenings. Many colleges have online applications; check their websites for details.
If you are planning to apply to a grammar school or another school, check their website for application deadlines. There is more information about applying to schools and colleges in the Further education section of our website, including links to college websites.
Most apprenticeships and jobs are looking for “immediate starts”; so the majority of the opportunities you can go for will be advertised later in Year 11 (such as April/May onwards). However, some employers recruit early, such as Jaguar Land Rover.
Use the apprenticeship website to create an account and to search and apply for vacancies. You can also set-up alerts for opportunities that interest you. If you have an employer in mind you can also check out their own website.
The Apprenticeships section of our website also gives details of other useful websites you can use to search and apply for opportunities.
If you’re looking for a job, check out the Jobs and voluntary work section of our website.
School leaving age and raising the participation age
The official school leaving date is the last Friday of June of the school year in which you turn 16.
However, the government has increased the age you must continue in learning. This means that you must be in some form of learning until you are 18 years old.
You can choose from the following:
- Stay in full-time education. For example, at a college or school sixth form.
- Start an apprenticeship or traineeship.
- Spend 20 hours or more a week working (including family businesses) or volunteering, combined with part-time education/training.
For more information, go to the government website.
16 to 19 Bursary Fund and Care to Learn Scheme
16 to 19 Bursary Fund
The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund is aimed at students who need financial help so that they can stay in learning. The Bursary Fund can help pay for costs like equipment you might need for your course and transport.
It can be worth £1,200 a year if at least one of the following applies:
- In or recently left local authority care.
- Getting Income Support or Universal Credit because you are financially supporting yourself.
- Getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
- Getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit.
If you’re not in one of the above groups you may still get a bursary depending on your personal circumstances. You need to check with your school, college or training provider to see if you are eligible.
More information is also on the government website.
Care to Learn:
If you’re studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare costs while you’re learning.
More information is on the government website.