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After Secondary School

There are several options a child can take after finishing secondary school at 16:

  • Take a vocational qualification
  • Take a further education qualification
  • Apply for a paid job
  • Apply for a voluntary job

Universities and colleges provide various courses that enable students to gain a degree or diploma at the end of them. These courses may be academic or vocational and typically range from being 2 to 4 years long.

Academic or vocational A levels can be taken in a 6th form college, secondary school 6th form, or further education college. A levels will enable the student to study for a higher education qualification, such as a university honours degree.

Applying for a paid job will enable the student to get straight into the world of work. Often, companies actually train their new staff on the job, sometimes with a form of qualification as the result. A voluntary job will provide invaluable experience in the type of job the child may choose. Volunteering will also reflect well upon the young person when they come to apply for a job at a prospective employer.

If the child wants to stay in education, there are many further education colleges which provide vocational courses that are geared towards assisting the student pursue a certain career or job. Courses can be part time or full time which allows the student to take a course which fits in with their current circumstances. If they already have a job, a part time course would be appropriate, whereas a full time course would allow a student to devote a larger amount of time to study and they would finish their course quicker than a part time course.

It is important to help your child choose the right place to study. This decision may be made more difficult as there are so many different educational organisations such as 6th form schools, colleges, and training organisations that offer similar courses. You can find help and advice regarding what course to choose on the UCAS website linked to below. Ofsted provides reports on schools and colleges in England which enables you as a parent to discern where would suit your child best. Ofsted inspection reports give detailed information regarding the performance of various institutions, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

    UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - www.ucas.com
    UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges...

    Ofsted Reports - www.ofsted.gov.uk
    The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is responsible for the inspection of all state and independent schools in England and its reports are published online for anyone to access...

A good way to help your child make the right decision for their future is by you both talking to career advisors. They are experienced in helping young people make these type of decisions and they will know about your local schools and colleges.

It is a good idea to visit prospecitive schools, colleges, or universities. Most of them will have open days which allow those interested in studying there to look around the institute. These open days give you the chance to talk to those studying and teaching there.

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