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Where to start

Year 11 may mark the end of your school days, but you still have to stay in education or training until the end of the school year when you turn 18.

So what can you do next? Your main choices are:

  • Full-time study, such as for A-levels or different college course
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship
  • A mix of work with part-time study

It’s worth looking ahead, as decisions you make now may narrow your choices later.  Fancy a particular course? Find out where it’s likely to lead in future. Have a career or university course in mind? Work out what do you need to do now to set you on the right path.

It can also help to keep an open mind – find out what’s available and then see how each option could work for you.

There are always opportunities to change direction and different ways to get to where you want to be, but thinking about your future now could make life easier further down the line.

Staying in education – where to study????

If you want to stay in education, you can study at:

  • Streetly Sixth form 
  • A separate sixth form or Further Education (FE) College
  • A specialist college – these usually focus on subjects such as dance, drama, or agriculture

Each school or college is likely to offer a range of different subjects, courses, and learning styles. Some colleges offer part-time courses, or run evening or weekend classes – often called flexible learning – so it’s worth finding out more to discover what will suit you best.

Look out for open days or evenings where you can visit the college, find out about the courses on offer and speak to staff and students. See what courses involve – the topics you will cover, amount of exams and coursework, and ask what previous students have gone on to do next.

Check out the application process for any colleges that interest you. The earlier you apply the better! Some sixth forms and specialist college  have deadline dates so check directly for these.  

What to study

A-levels tend to focus on academic subjects and are one of the main routes to university. Courses usually take two years and you sit your exams at the end of the course. See Choosing A-level subjects for more details.

Vocational qualifications are more practical and provide you with the knowledge and skills needed for certain jobs and types of work. You can study Tech Levels which are linked to careers such as engineering, computing and hospitality or Applied General qualifications which have a broader focus, such as applied science, business or sport.

Explore and compare courses at hundreds of schools and colleges through UCAS Progress.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

If you want to learn a new profession, trade or skill, then this could be the route for you.

Apprenticeships are real jobs with training so you can earn while you learn and pick up qualifications as you go. Schemes take between one and four years to complete and run on three different levels, so you can choose a level that suits you.

See the following for more details 

Become an apprentice 

Find an apprenticeship 

A guide to apprenticeships 

Higher and degree apprenticeships

Traineeships help prepare you for work and last up to six months. They offer maths and English training together with work experience to boost your skills and put you in a better position to get an apprenticeship or job. You can find a traineeship on GOV.UK.

Getting advice

Speak to your teachers at school and Mrs O'Connor. They may have links with local colleges and training providers or know how past students have got on. Parents, carers, friends and relatives may also be able to provide ideas and guidance.

If you want to speak to a careers advisor you can also visit the National Careers Service.

What is raising the participation age?


Q: Do I have to stay in education until I'm 18?

A. No, but the government has increased the age you must continue in learning. This means that Year 11 students must be in some form of learning until they are 18 years old.

You can choose from the following:

  • Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider.
  • Full-time work (including working in a family business) or volunteering combined with part-time education/training.
  • An apprenticeship.

Go to the government website for more information.


Q: When is the school leaving date?

A. The official date is the last Friday of June of the school year in which you turn 16.


Q: Can I get any money if I stay on at school, go to college or start with a training provider?

A. It depends on personal circumstances. 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.

Who can apply for a Streetly Academy Bursary?

This is a grant to help Streetly Academy students in financial hardship with essential costs of coming to school, such as travel and equipment. You can apply if

  • You are 16, 17 or 18 on 31st August of year 12/13 and enrolled on a full time course with The Streetly Academy Sixth Form
  • You have the right to live in the UK and have been resident in the UK for the whole of the 3 years to the start of your course – if you have either indefinite leave to enter, or right to remain, in the UK you must provide a copy of your Home Office letter
  • You live in a household where the gross household income for the financial year 2016/17 was less than £22,000


You are identified as a vulnerable learner.

The defined vulnerable groups are: young people in care, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children; young care leavers; young people getting Income Support or Universal Credit (UC) in place of Income Support in their own right; young people getting Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments in their own right.​

Please note that to qualify as eligible for a vulnerable student payment the young person does not have to live independently of their parents; they can claim ESA or UC in their own right.  Parents should note that they will not be able to claim Child Benefit for them if the young person’s claim for ESA succeeds.


More information is also on the government website. Additionally, 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.


Q: I am still not sure what to do after Year 11, what can I do?

A. If you need 1:1 careers advice, see Mrs O'Connor, the school’s careers adviser or Mrs Phillips the sixth form learning mentor. They can help you decide what to do after Year 11.



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