Post-16 Options

Raising of the Participation Age

One option is to study full-time at school, college, or with a training provider. There has been a trend in recent years for many more young people to continue their studies. This further study has become important to get into further or higher education and the workforce, where higher skills are increasingly required.

The second option is full-time employment or volunteering (full-time is counted as more than 20 hours a week) but it must be combined with part-time study or training. This is where the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) is different from just raising the school leaving age. You can’t just go and get any old job. It must be a job with training or the young person is not seen as fully participating.

The third option is an apprenticeship.  Please refer to the ‘Apprenticeships’ section of this website for more information.


Course Levels

Qualifications are grouped together into levels of difficulty.

There are nine levels from Entry-Level to Level 8.  Each level has different entry requirements.

Most Year 11 students taking GCSEs will achieve results at either Level 2 (A*-C/9-4) and/or Level 1 (D-G/3-1) giving them the entry requirements to progress on to qualifications at either level 3 or 2.

Source: Choices at 16, Norfolk County Council, 2019.

What courses are available to me?

Click here to view Norfolk’s HelpYouChoose website.  It hosts all of the county’s sixth form and college courses.  You can search by a specific provider, by subject, town or qualification.

Thinking of going to University at 18?

You will need to consider your Post-16 courses very carefully.  Be aware that the subjects you choose at 16 will have an effect on the courses that you can choose to study at 18.  You must do your research.  Check the ‘Entry Requirements’ for university courses; do they state specific subjects that are required?

The Russell Group’s ‘Informed Choices’ website has been produced because the writers believe it is really important for all young people, especially those whose parents did not go to university, to have clear information about how the subjects that they choose to study in sixth form or at college can affect their options at university and their chances in life.

UCAS, the Universities Clearing and Admission Service, the website that all university applications go through, offers students a new advice Further Education portal to support young people in their Post-16 decision-making.

Calendar of Open Days/ Evenings

Click here to view the Calendar of Open Days/ Evenings for local colleges and sixth forms via Norfolk’s HelpYouChoose.  This will be particularly useful during the Autumn Term for Year 11 students.

Entry Requirements, Back-Up Plans, Deadlines, Interviews

Do consider carefully the Entry Requirements of the sixth form and college courses that you apply for.  Are you on target to achieve the grades that you are being asked for?

Have a back-up plan just in case your first plan doesn’t work out.  Your first plan should contain ambitious applications for courses that match your target grades or better.  Your second plan should contain applications for courses that require fewer or lower grades.  Receiving your grades on Results Day in August can be stressful enough; please make sure you are in a position to ‘pick yourself up’ should the situation arise where you don’t achieve the grades that you needed or wanted.  That’s where your back-up plan will come in!

Make sure you know the deadlines for course applications.  You wouldn’t want to miss out on sixth form or college courses.  Perhaps create a calendar containing these dates, together with dates for Open Evenings and Open Days?

Some sixth forms and colleges may hold interviews for the courses they offer; some won’t, they may choose to offer places based on the strength of your application.  It is worth noting that for some providers, there may be a gap of a couple of months between sending in your application and attending an interview; this is normal practice.  Applicants should receive confirmation of their application relatively quickly however; this could be by email, by post or text.  Some providers may ask you to attend an interview having completed a task that they’ve set you in advance.  You’ll be expected to talk through your work with the interviewer.

‘Making choices about your future can be exciting, but it can also be daunting, particularly if you are unsure of what direction you want to take.’

Take a look at Norfolk’s Careers Post-16 pages for useful help and advice.

Help with your Decision-Making

Help and advice are available in school to support your decision-making, from your subject teachers, your Form Tutor, and your Head of House, to a Careers Advisor. 

If you would like to book an appointment to see a Careers Advisor, click here

If your question relates to your Sixth Form application, please direct your conversation to Ms Bernard, Head of Sixth Form.