Many of us are back at school or continuing with our education at home, and hopefully studying hard. As you are now in Year 11, you will soon be making your post 16 applications and some decisions!
We hope that this brief guide will help you as you make your next steps.
You have many choices open to you after Year 11, with the main options being:
Current Year 11 students will be applying for courses in schools and colleges from October across Kent, Medway, and Sussex. Either using an application portal called Kentchoices (if you are in Kent) or via direct application to your school, college, or training provider of choice.
NOTE: Traineeship and apprenticeship applications are slightly different, which we will cover in part 2 of our application guide.
If applying outside of Kent, students will need to either apply with a direct application to their chosen provider or using that county or borough’s online application portal (if available):
A few schools have internal application processes which allow students to apply to their current school on a paper application form.
Each school and college have their own deadlines for applications, so be sure to find out when these are by speaking to each school and college you are interested in applying to at open days or by contacting via email or phone.
From September, many schools and colleges usually hold open days and events aimed at Year 11 students, to show what courses they have available and to allow students and parents/carers a chance to look around. Some of these you will need to register for to attend.
If you are unsure what you wish to do after Year 11, make sure you book an appointment with your careers adviser at school, college or contact the National Careers Service young person’s careers helpline:
The National Careers Service provides free, up to date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England to anyone aged 13 and upwards. To speak to a National Careers Service adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use the webchat (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week)
Whilst researching, it is advisable to explore the social media content of schools and colleges on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see what additional information schools and colleges are providing, as well as reviews by former students.
Some schools and colleges already have virtual tours available on YouTube, with 360-degree visuals on their websites and embedded in their course pages (here are some examples below):
Aim to attend as many open days as possible at the schools/colleges you are interested in.
Some schools and colleges also provide residential or boarding opportunities which may incur additional costs. However, these costs can sometime be covered by scholarship and/or financial packages of support (contact each school for details).
There are a few important questions you can ask:
Schools and colleges start interviewing students from January onwards, with some running a first-come, first-served process. When they are full, some places start a ‘waiting list’. It is for this reason that an early application is vital once you know what you wish to study.
Some courses are more popular than others, so getting in early can be vital!
The level of course you can apply for will vary depending on the grades you are predicted.
Local Authorities have a statutory duty to track the destinations of all young people at ages 16 and 17 during the two academic years of Year 12 and Year 13. This data is used to target resources and provide additional coordinated support to the most vulnerable young people, through the Early Help and Preventative Services, Virtual Schools and the Care Leavers Service.
You may have heard of this referred to as the September Guarantee. For this reason, you may receive literature or be contacted during the school year with regards this. Part of this is to make sure young people are engaged in education, employment, or training to meet the Raising Participation Age (RPA) and to make sure you are OK next year.
If you have SEND (with or without an EHCP) it is advisable to discuss supported transitions with who supports, you in school and the school or college you are applying to. Some have the capacity to offer additional support and will help you with your next step.
NOTE: It is worth being aware, there are also supported apprenticeships and other work-based options available for students with SEND.
All of this may feel a little daunting, but our careers advisers in schools, as well as our colleagues at the National Careers Service helpline for teenagers, are here to support you if you have any questions or queries. In part 2 of this guide, we will explore apprenticeships and financial support available for study.
Good luck with your careers research!
Written by Chris Targett RCDP, Careers Adviser