16 – 19 yrs

What next?

The next few years are a time when young people have to make decisions, take control and shape their future, which is very exciting, but it can also feel a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to. There are lots of people who can help young people every step of the way to get to where you want to go.

Laws passed by Government called Raising the Participation Age mean that from September 2013, all young people in England have to stay in some kind of education, employment or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. This will rise until 18 years of age in September 2015. To read more about the laws, please click here

However, this does not automatically mean that young people have to stay in school.

Finding the path that is right for your young person

There are so many different options and routes for young people when they reach the end of Year 11, they can:

• Choose to stay on at your school, or join another school sixth form

• Choose further education at college

• Choose work-based learning, such as a traineeship or apprenticeship

• Choose to work, whilst undertaking part-time education or training

Foundation learning – Level 1 and entry level

Foundation Learning is a personalised programme designed to help young people progress to a level 2 programme (GCSE grade A*-C equivalent). It includes vocational learning, personal and social development and functional skills (Mathematics, English and ICT) qualifications that can be level 1 or entry level, or a mix of the two.

• GCSE grades D-G are level 1 qualifications.

• Other level 1 qualifications include work related qualifications such as BTEC or OCR certificates.


A traineeship is a programme for young people who want to work and will give them the opportunity to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require. Traineeships are for 16-24 year olds (and young people with learning difficulty assessments up to the academic age 25). Traineeships fit within broader study programmes for 16 to 19 year-olds. For further information, please click here

Level 2


Are on offer both as re-sits and new subjects. Grades A*-C are level 2 qualifications; grades D-G are level 1.

BTEC Level 2

A level 2 diploma usually takes a year, students attend for three or four days per week. The programme is a mix of vocational and practical skills and students will undertake employability, English and Maths elements to enable them to progress to higher level (level 3) courses or employment (with training) or an apprenticeship/traineeship. For more information, please click here


Work towards work-based learning qualifications (such as an NVQ level 2), functional or key skills and in some cases, a relevant sector based qualification. They enable young people to combine working and earning and provide the skills they need for their chosen career and enable progress to an advanced apprenticeship.

For information about apprenticeships click here

To find out what types of apprenticeship your child/young person can undertake, please click here

Information is also available on the GOV.UK website, please click here

To serach for current apprenticeship vacancies, please click here

There are also a number of apprenticeship vacancies available at Medway Council, for more information please click here
Helping your child decide their future

Although between the ages of 14 and 16 it may seem like a long time before your child needs to think about what job/career they want to follow in the future, it is never too early to start thinking about this.

The job/career that they wish to follow will also potentially help decide what subjects they study in years 10 and 11, and beyond.

How can you help your child?

In the young person section of this website we have given young people a number of questions to think about to help them decide what they want to do. These questions are listed below.

  • What interests you and do you find fun and enjoy doing?
  • What are you good at – not just school subjects?
  • Is there anything you don’t like doing or are not so good at?
  • Would you like to work indoors or outdoors, alone, or in a team?
  • What is important to you, helping people, doing something hands on?

You will be able to support them in answering some of these questions for themselves.

There are a number of different resources available for young people and you as parent/carer to support young people, however a good starting point for information about possible careers is


You should also take the opportunity to talk to your child’s school as they will be able to provide you with more information. You could do this at parent’s evenings/options evenings as part of general discussions to see how your child is getting on at school, and what their next steps are.

What qualifications will my child study in Years 10 & 11?


GCSEs (General Certificates of Secondary Education) are usually taken in 2 years in years 10 and 11 and available in a number of subjects. They are assessed by exams and coursework, although in the next few years the Government has changed this so that they will only be assessed by exams.

For more information about GCSEs, please click here

GCSE Grades explained

The results of GCSE examinations are reported on an 8-point scale of grades: A*, A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Candidates who do not reach the minimum standard (Grade G) will be ungraded (U) and the result will not be certified.

For more information about GCSE grades, please click here


BTECs are work related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students. They

provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a key theoretical background. They can be taken as well as, or in place of, GCSEs and A levels in schools and colleges. BTECs are recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the United Kingdom and in over 100 countries worldwide.

For more information about BTECs, please click here

Staying on at School

Under the Raising Participation Age (RPA) introduced in September 2013, all young people now need to be in some form of education, employment or training until 17. In 2015, this will rise to the age of 18.

This does not mean that young people have to stay at school.

You and your child will need to think what it is they plan to do once they finish compulsory school age at the end of year 11. More information about the options open to young people are available on the 16-18 young people and parents and carers sections of this website.

For further information about the RPA and what it means for your child, please click here

If you have any further questions about the information here please contact the school improvement team on 01634 337560.
Level 3

A – levels

Level 3 qualifications made up of AS (advanced subsidiary) and A2 units. An AS level is half the size of a full A level. In the first year (usually year 12), students normally choose to study up to four A level subjects and sit AS level exams. At the end of the first year you have two options for each subject.

Take an AS level only and gain a recognised qualification;

Continue for a second year studying the A2 units and go for the full A level.

BTEC (Level 3)

The level 3 Extended and Subsidiary Diplomas offer a mix of practical and theoretical study in a vocational area. They are equivalent to two or three A-levels and allow young people to progress on to university or directly to employment. For more information about BTEcs, please click here

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an alternative to A/AS levels for students wishing to study a broader range of subjects. The IB Diploma is recognised by universities in this country and worldwide. Students choose six subjects, three at higher level (A level) and three at standard level (between GCSE and A level).For more information please click here

Higher Apprenticeships

Are high-level training programmes designed by employers to allow young people to combine working and training. Young people will develop all the latest business skills to help them succeed in their future career. Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ level 3, functional or key skills and in some cases, a relevant sector based qualification. For further information, please click here.

If you have any questions about this information please contact Medway Council’s 14-25 team on 01634 338410 or email school.improvement@medway.gov.uk

Download the ‘Your Choice In Medway booklet 2014′

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