This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read more here     Accept

Further Education

In Year 11 you make your next set of big decisions. These decisions determine what you study at Further Education and where you study, e.g. sixth form or college. At post-16 level study there is a wider range of subjects and qualifications on offer to students. Three of the main types of post-16 level qualifications are: A Levels, BTECs and apprenticeships.

A Levels

A Levels are academic qualifications that are taught in a similar way with exams taken at the end of two years of study. There is a broad range of subjects on offer and they can be taken in combination with BTEC qualifications. A Levels are accepted by all universities and colleges, including the most academically competitive institutions.

BTECs and diplomas (such as OCR nationals)

BTECs take a practical or hands-on approach to learning and often involve a lot of coursework but also often include end of year exams, BTECs can be taken by themselves, allowing the student to specialise in one subject usually over two years, or they can be taken alongside A Levels. BTECs are accepted by most universities and colleges. However, some of the more competitive universities do not accept BTECs or specify that they must be taken along with A Levels.


Apprenticeships are designed to develop skills for a specific career by studying and working a paid job at the same time.

Up to 80% of hours is spent at work, for example, 4 out of 5 working days. However, other apprenticeships are organised as placement blocks, with weeks at a time in work or at study.

With at least 20% of your paid time dedicated to your studies, you may be required to attend college, university, or an alternative training provider. However, you may have the option to study at your place of work, online, or use a combination of options.

Employers must provide apprentices with learning opportunities and formal qualifications. It is important to note that the application process can be very competitive.

There are different levels of apprenticeships. Degree or higher-level apprenticeships lead to a Higher Education qualification.

For more information go to apprenticeship.

Post-16 subject choices

The subjects and qualifications studied at sixth form or college determine which Higher Education courses you will be able to study. It is important that you understand the impact of these choices on your future options. See the table on the next page for guidance on subject and qualification choices.

Was this helpful?

Chat with us!