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Post 16 learning

You don't have to continue your education at school after Year 11. There are a number of options to choose from, including college courses and apprenticeships. 

Your options after Year 11

The government has changed the law so that all young people have to continue in education or training until the age of 18. This is known as Raising the participation age (RPA). If you are in your last year at secondary school (Year 11) you will continue your learning until at least your 18th birthday.
You don’t have to continue your learning at school. There are lots of routes available with a wide choice of academic and vocational learning options, including:
If you enjoy studying, you may choose subjects or courses that will prepare you to continue your learning at university.

If you need help to decide what option is best for you, you can:

Full time education

You could choose to study:
  • with other 16 to 18-year-olds at a sixth form college
  • at a further education college where there are also older students around
  • at a sixth form based at a school.
If you enjoy studying, do well at exams and are predicted to get at least five GCSEs at grade C or above, then AS/A levels could be right for you.
If you are interested in learning about a general career area but are not yet ready to learn a specific job, then a more applied or vocational course could be for you. These include BTECs, Applied A level programmes, NVQs and City & Guilds.
If you know the job you want to pursue, you could start getting qualified for it. This is done through job-specific qualifications, such as CACHE (childcare), ILEX (legal work), AAT (accounts) and IMI (motor industry).

Work and study

You can choose to work full time (more than 20 hours a week), volunteer or even set up your own business. But you will also need to make time to undertake part-time training or study in order to meet the duty to participate. This will allow you to get accredited qualifications.


Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to work for a real employer alongside experienced staff. You will earn a salary and gain a qualification as well as valuable workplace experience and relevant job-specific skills.
Visit the government’s website to find out about apprenticeships and to search for apprenticeship opportunities. If you live in Newham, Newham Workplace could also help you with your search.
We offer apprenticeships within the council through the Youth Employment Scheme. If you are aged between 16 and 18 and live in Newham, you could earn £180 while you learn new skills and gain qualifications.


A traineeship is an education and training programme that gives young people the skills and experience they need to get a job or apprenticeship.
Find out more about traineeships on the government’s website and search for traineeship opportunities.

Going to university

A university degree can give you entry to a wide range of careers and opportunities. Those who have degrees are also more likely to be in employment than those with lower level qualifications. You are more likely to earn more too.

Choosing your subject

The earlier you start thinking about university, the better. Take every opportunity to visit campuses and get involved in summer schools so you can gain a better understanding of what it is like to study at university.
It is also important to know what the entry requirements for the university course you are interested in studying are as you may need to have studied specific A levels. For more information about choosing your subjects and entry requirements, visit the Russell Group's Informed Choices website.

Fees and finance

Going to university costs money. You will have tuition fees to pay and you will need money for your living costs: things like your rent if you live away from home, money for food, travel, clothes and books and materials for your course.
The good news is there are loans and grants to help you with all of these costs. Plus each university will offer scholarships and bursaries, which like grants, do not have to repaid.
Student loans have been designed to be manageable and realistic. You are liable to repay your loan in the April which falls three years after the start of your course, but you will only make repayments if you are earning over a certain amount. This amount changes every year.


Support while you study

If you are under 19 and have been resident in the UK for three years or more, full-time further education fees are free (this is subject to eligibility and status).

You will only need to pay fees if you move on to higher education or choose a commercial course.
You may also qualify for financial support while you study, such as:

More information

Our road-map to courses in Newham for 16 to 18 year olds (PDF) goes into more detail about your options and features case studies written by former Newham students.

All the information was correct at time of print in October 2018.

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