Choices at 16+
You might have heard that you need to stay in learning until you're 18, but this doesn't mean staying in school.
Because of the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) to 18, you have a number of options you can take after leaving school.
Watch the YouTube video titled 'What are my options when I leave school?, which gives you the basics. From college and sixth form to apprenticeships, traineeships and other work-based learning. This video was made by apprentices working in Suffolk.
What choices do I have?
1. Stay in full-time education
You can stay in full-time education at sixth form or college, doing post-16 qualifications or other learning programmes. This doesn't have to be the sixth form at your current school - why not see what else is out there? List of colleges and sixth-forms in Suffolk and those on the border of the county.
Taking A-levels? Keep in mind the changes being made to A-levels. There is now less coursework, and A-level exams will only be taken at the end of the two years - your AS-levels won't count towards your final grade. For more info, take a look at this guide to A-level reforms.
2. Do work with training
If you feel ready to go into work, there are a few options you can take. With apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships you can gain work experience and learn at the same time. You may also like to look at information on supported internships at West Suffolk College, Suffolk New College and East Coast College.
3. Work with a training provider
Training providers offer the opportunity to gain training and qualifications, including apprenticeships and traineeships to suit your needs. There are start dates throughout year and they will offer you a chance to improve your confidence, improve your maths and English and gain work experience in smaller groups. To find out about courses happening where you are contact a Young Person's Worker.
4. Start your own business
Want to start your own business? You can do this as long as you are also learning part-time and working towards a qualification. Find out more about what it takes to become self employed.
5. Take a short course to improve your skills
To find out more about your options and short courses available to you locally, such as Princes Trust (ages 16-30) or Minding the Gap (ages 15-24), take a look at our page: l've left school and I'm stuck.
Find out more:
- To find out more about the details of RPA and how it affects you, read our page of Frequently Asked Questions.
Where do I start with my 16+ choices?
Do your Research!
It all starts with research. It might take you a while to decide which choices is right for you, so don't wait until the last minute!
You could also take a look at websites of local colleges and training providers to see what they offer and search for courses, training and apprenticeships.
It might help to talk to someone at school about your career ideas, and there's lots to help you understand what jobs and careers are possible in our Careers Advice section.
Explore subject areas - browse some of the subject areas that you may be able to study, with related careers and videos with people talking about their jobs.
Not managed to get a 4 grade in maths or English?
If you've not got that magic '4' grade in maths and English, you'll have to continue studying until you do pass the exam and get that grade!
I've left school and I'm stuck
If you've left school and didn't get the grades you expected or needed, there are still plenty of options to get back into learning, work or training. To find out more about your options, take a look at our page: l've left school and I'm stuck.
Learning opportunities for young people with additional needs
On this website we explain about the range of learning opportunities available for young people with additional needs or disabilities, to support you as you make the transition from school to post-16 education and training. You can also find more information about your options on the Local Offer website - www.suffolklocaloffer.org.uk for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
Start applying in January/February of your last year at school because that's when many of the best opportunities appear. To find out more, have a look at our apprenticeships pages.
Want to know what doing an apprenticeship is really like? Visit our Apprentice Lounge to hear from current apprentices in Suffolk.