What could you study Post-16?
The Skills For Careers Young People webpage has ideas of what careers are available, and a section for getting help and advice with applying for jobs or training. It also gives information on the training options available to young people for post-16 study, including details about the different qualifications you could study, typical entry requirements, and what they could lead you onto. You can use the search tools within each qualification description to find post-16 settings which may be offering those you’re interested in, or use it to research your next steps and then look for Bexley post-16 settings planning to offer those qualifications by using Bexley’s Post-16 Directory web app.
Choosing the right pathway
Choosing the right pathway for post-16 study initially comes to down what you hope to do after your post-16 study. If you want to go to university, you’ll need to choose a pathway that provides the subjects and UCAS points needed. If you want to go into work, you’ll need to choose a pathway that will give you the skills and qualifications asked for by employers.
If university, or other higher education such as a degree apprenticeship, is your planned next step after post-16 education, do some research on the UCAS website as to what higher education course you would be interested in and what its entry requirements are. Use this research to inform your next steps.
If work is your planned next step after post-16 education, use the National Careers Service Careers Explorer to find the job you’re aiming for and check out the “How to become” section for information on the qualifications usually asked for by employers. Use this research to inform your next steps. Even if you’re planning on going to university before going into work, you may find this a useful exercise to inform your choices for both post-16 and university education.
Once you know what qualifications and/or subjects you need to study to achieve your goals after post-16, it’s time to find post-16 education settings who offer those qualifications, or a pathway to those qualifications in case you don’t get the grades required while at school.
Check Bexley’s Post-16 Directory web app for information on post-16 settings in the borough and use the “Course Search” to see who is planning to offer the qualifications / and or subjects you’re looking for. If you find a suitable post-16 setting, attend any open events they have so you can have a look around, and get your application in before their application deadline. Don’t wait until you get your GCSE results, as it could well be too late to secure a place at the setting, or for the subjects you want. Most settings accept applications with predicted grades, so don’t wait for your actual ones.
For apprenticeships, use the Find Apprenticeship Service to search and apply for opportunities. Apprenticeships are jobs, not courses, and so you wouldn’t apply to a college or independent training provider for an apprenticeship, although you may attend a setting of these types for your off the job training. Remember that you can’t start an apprenticeship until you’re no longer of compulsory school age - this is after the last Friday in June of your school year 11. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use the Find Apprenticeship Service to register to opportunity alerts before then or apply for apprenticeship opportunities with a start date after that last Friday in June.
You should also look for information on Bexley’s Apprenticeship & Participation Event which typically takes place during National Apprenticeship Week. Your Bexley secondary school will be given posters and leaflets to promote when the event is taking place.
If you have Special Educational Needs
When applying for post-16 education you will usually be asked if you have any Special Educational Needs that you receive support for at school. It’s important that you answer this question honestly. As young people go to a very wide range of post-16 education settings, it’s very likely that your post-16 education setting won’t receive information from your school about the support you received there. As funding to support young people with Special Educational Needs is different for post-16 settings than it is for schools, it could be difficult for your post-16 setting to arrange or provide the support you need if they don’t know about it before you start with them.
Many post-16 settings will have a student support service who will meet with you to discuss your needs, how they could be met at the setting, and offer advice and guidance if the course you are interested in may not be suitable. It’s far better to have this conversation and start a suitable course with the support ready to go, rather than start a course you may struggle with.
If you have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP)
If you have an EHCP, it’s likely that you and your parents started thinking about post-16 education in year 9 so that your remaining time at school started you on the right pathway and had this outlined in your Plan. During your year 11 Annual Review there should be a check-in to see how things are progressing, whether your longer-term education or job goals have changed, and your Plan updated to reflect your move to post-16 education and the outcomes you aim to achieve there.
If the pathway to your longer-term education or job goals means your next step is a mainstream setting other than one you currently attend, it’s important that your Bexley SEND Case Officer is aware so they can consult with the setting to confirm they can meet your needs and agree to being named on your EHCP. You or your parent can pass on this information, or ensure it’s passed to the Case Officer with the Annual Review document. This needs to happen before the end of March in year 11 to allow enough time for this to take place, but the sooner the better in case an alternative setting needs to be identified.
Some post-16 settings only offer education to students with an EHCP or have a part of their building specifically for young people with a Plan. If your longer-term education or job goals mean your next step is to a setting of this kind, it’s important that your Bexley SEND Case Officer is aware so they can confirm that the place will be funded (if not state-funded) and consult with the setting to confirm they can meet your needs and agree to being named on your EHCP. You or your parent can pass on this information or ensure it’s passed to the Case Officer with the Annual Review document. This needs to happen before the end of March in year 11 to allow enough time for this to take place, but the sooner the better in case an alternative setting needs to be identified.
What types of qualifications are offered by post-16 settings in Bexley?
A levels are classroom-based study programmes that prepare you for further study, mainly university or college, but can also take you into an apprenticeship or work.
To study A levels, you will usually need good GCSE grades (typically 4 or above) including English and maths. Some settings will also require you to have achieved, or be predicted, good GCSE grades in specific subjects depending on what you want to study, so it’s essential to check the eligibility for criteria for each school and A level subject.
A levels are a very popular choice for Bexley’s young people so make sure you pay attention to application deadline dates, as some schools close applications for their sixth forms at the start of the Christmas holidays or near the beginning of the Spring term.
An apprenticeship is a real job with training and a salary which can lead you on to a higher level or degree apprenticeship, university or work. You will spend an average of 6 hours a week completing off-the-job training, usually on-site, remotely at home, or at a college or university campus, and the rest of the time in your job.
You don’t apply to colleges or universities for apprenticeships. As apprenticeships are jobs, you find and apply for apprenticeships in a similar way. Some colleges may help employers to find an apprentice, but you shouldn’t rely on this if an apprenticeship is what you really want to do. For more information on becoming an apprentice, including how to find and apply for apprenticeship opportunities, visit Become an apprentice.
For more information on the types of qualifications, you could study for as an apprentice, visit the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education website. If you find an apprenticeship qualification you’re interested in, you can put your postcode in the 'Find an apprenticeship' box on the qualification details page to check for opportunities providing that qualification. You’ll also find a wide range of information and resources relating to apprenticeship at Amazing Apprenticeships website.
You can view all apprenticeship opportunities within 5 miles of Bexleyheath currently being advertised by the Government’s Find Apprenticeship Service.
The London Borough of Bexley advertises its apprenticeship opportunities on its recruitment website.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an assessed programme for students aged 16 to 19. Students follow a programme of six subjects, with three studied at Higher and three at Standard Level, all underpinned by the programme core.
For most courses, students take written examinations at the end of the programme. In many programme areas, students also complete externally assessed coursework.
To study the International Baccalaureate, you will need good GCSE grades (typically 4 or above) including English and maths. Some settings will also need you to have achieved, or be predicted, good GCSE grades in specific subjects, so it’s important to check the eligibility for criteria for the subjects you’re interested in.
The International Baccalaureate is typically offered by grammar schools and applications may close at the start of the Christmas holidays or near the beginning of the Spring term, so make sure you’re aware of application deadlines.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Young people with SEND can, and often do, go to mainstream post-16 education settings and study academic (e.g., A levels) or technical qualifications. If you have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) and are transitioning into post-16 education it’s important that you have a post-16 setting named on your plan no later than the end of March so you, the setting, and your local authority SEND Case Officer to have enough time to ensure your needs can be met.
Bexley has some settings which provide post-16 education only for those with an EHCP. Courses at these settings typically focus on developing life, independence, and work-related skills to help young people prepare for adulthood. Access to such settings needs to be agreed by the local authority and so should be requested using the Annual Review process.
Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).
The core part of a Supported Internship is a substantial work experience placement, carried out with the support of a job coach. Interns are enrolled and supported by a learning provider, for example, a school or college, but spend most of their learning time in a workplace. Supported Internships last for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year, and provide the opportunity for young people to achieve paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.
Young people should contact their local authority SEND Case Officer to register their interest in Supported Internship opportunities.
T Levels are new 2-year courses which are taken after GCSEs and are broadly equivalent to 3 A levels. These courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and education providers so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for entry into skilled employment, an apprenticeship, or related technical study through further or higher education.
T Levels offer students practical and knowledge-based learning at a school or college and on-the-job experience through an industry placement of at least 315 hours – approximately 45 days.
To study T levels, you will usually need good GCSE grades (typically 4 or above) including English and maths. Some settings will also require you to have achieved or be predicted good GCSE grades in specific subjects depending on what you want to study, so it’s essential to check the eligibility for criteria for your chosen T Level routeway.
If you don’t, or are not predicted to, achieve the required grades you may be able to start a T Level transition course - a programme up to one year in length designed to get you ready to start a full T Level study programme from the following year. Check with providers if they offer the T Level transition programme.
Technical and Vocational
Technical and vocational qualifications are work-focused study programmes that give young people the preparation and training needed for work or an apprenticeship. Although they mainly lead students into work or an apprenticeship, they can also lead to further study at college at higher levels.
There’s a very broad range, and some settings may give young people the opportunity to study a technical and vocational qualification alongside academic qualification, such as A levels.