At the end of Year 11, there are many different routes that you can follow. With the Raising of the Participation Age, you now need to stay in some form of education or employment with training until you are aged 18. That might mean you may choose to continue your studies at Waddesdon Sixth Form; you may choose to study at a different school, local college or specialist college; you may begin training or take up an apprenticeship so that you can get started in the world of work. Whatever you choose to do, the more you can find out about your options, the better it will be for you.
Staying on at School for Sixth Form
Students at Sixth Form school typically study for two years, sitting AS examinations at the end of the first year and A-level examinations at the end of the second.
To get the most out of studying after the age of 16, it is important to take time to choose the right courses and qualifications.
- what you are good at, and what you enjoy – most people do better when they study a subject they like
- what course structure will suit you – end of year exams, continual assessments or a mixture of both?
- what learning style will suit you – lectures, classroom discussions or practical workshops?
People tend to see A Levels as the most direct route to university. Although this isn’t always the case, this is broadly true. To do well at A Level it is advisable to achieve a ‘B’ or above in the subject you wish to study. This will help you make the ‘jump’ from GCSE to A Level as you will be required to work independently, read widely and manage your own workload effectively.
Apprenticeships and College
If you prefer a practical approach to learning you may want to consider applying to do an apprenticeship. Please speak to Miss Bridges if you would like to know more information about this route or go to www.apprenticeships.org.uk to register your interest and to search for the latest vacancies.
The advantage of doing an apprenticeship is obvious. You will learn job specific skills, gain qualifications, receive training, get paid holidays and even earn a salary, although this is a lower level.
Work experience placements often lead to a part time job. You might want to talk to your employer about a potential apprenticeship.
Studying at College
Further education colleges
Further education colleges can offer similar courses to sixth form colleges. They also vary a lot in size, and in the subjects and facilities they offer.
Your fellow students may include adults of all ages as well as young people.
Some further education colleges specialise in particular areas:
- subject areas such as art and design, agriculture and horticulture, or dance and drama
- courses and support for students with a particular disability or learning difficulty
Going to a specialist college may involve a lot of travelling. If it’s a long way from home, you may need to live there during term time. If so, you might qualify for financial help.
However, some courses are only available to people over the age of 18.
The following colleges may be of interest:
Abingdon & Witney College www.abingdon-witney.ac.uk 01235 555585
Amersham & Wycombe College www.amersham.ac.uk 0800 614 016
Aylesbury College www.aylesbury.ac.uk 01296 588588
Berkshire College of Agriculture www.bca.ac.uk 0800 0711 666
Milton Keynes College www.mkcollege.ac.uk 01908 684444
Moulton College www.moulton.ac.uk 01604 491131
Oxford & Cherwell Valley College www.ocvc.ac.uk 01865 550550
The Henley College www.henleycol.ac.uk 01494 579988
The following links may also be of interest:
Careersbox – career films
apprenticeships – website for apprenticeship vacancies and registration
ucas – university and higher education courses
opendoorsmedia – web based careers site