What Are My Child's Options Post-16?

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As your child approaches the age of 16, it's natural to start considering their educational and career options beyond compulsory education. The choices available to them at this pivotal stage can significantly shape their future. In this blog, we'll explore various post-16 options, helping you understand the different paths your child can take and how to support them in making informed decisions.

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Further Education Colleges

Further Education colleges offer a wide range of courses, including A-levels, vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, and access courses. They provide a diverse learning environment where students can pursue academic or practical subjects, tailoring their education to their interests and strengths.

Sixth Form Colleges

Sixth Form colleges are dedicated to providing education for 16-19-year-olds. They focus mainly on A-levels and other academic qualifications, preparing students for university or higher-level apprenticeships.


Apprenticeships offer a combination of on-the-job training and classroom learning. They allow young people to earn while they learn, gaining practical skills and experience in a specific industry. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors, from engineering and healthcare to digital marketing and hospitality.

A Levels

A Levels are advanced level qualifications typically studied over two years. They provide in-depth knowledge and are often required for entry into university. A-levels are offered in a wide range of subjects, allowing students to specialise in their chosen areas. These are commonly on offer in senior schools in Bath, as well as in secondary schools and private colleges.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognised qualification that provides a holistic education encompassing academic subjects, creativity, activity, service (CAS), and theory of knowledge (TOK). It's an excellent option for students looking for a broad and globally-focused curriculum.

Vocational Qualifications

Vocational qualifications, such as BTECs and NVQs, are designed to provide practical skills and knowledge for specific industries. These courses are hands-on and prepare students for employment in areas like engineering, business, health, and social care.

Higher Education

University is a popular choice for many students, offering the chance to specialise in a particular field and gain a degree. It's essential to research different courses and institutions to find the best fit for your child's interests and career goals.

Gap Year or Volunteering

Some students choose to take a gap year to travel, work, or engage in volunteer activities. This can provide valuable life experiences and help them gain a clearer sense of their interests and goals before committing to further education.

Work or Apprenticeship

Some young people may choose to enter the workforce directly after school. This can be a good option for those who have a clear idea of their career path and prefer hands-on learning.

Combination of Options

It's important to remember that these options aren't mutually exclusive. Your child may choose to mix and match, such as studying part-time while working, or pursuing further education while volunteering.

Supporting your child in making post-16 decisions is a crucial step in their educational journey. Encourage open conversations about their interests, strengths, and aspirations. Additionally, seek guidance from teachers, career advisors, and professionals in different fields to help your child explore their options thoroughly. By offering support and information, you'll empower your child to make informed choices that pave the way for a fulfilling and successful future.

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