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Post 16 Educational Opportunities

Since September 2015 all young people must participate in some form of education or training until they are 18. However, unlike the requirement to attend school up to the age of 16, it is the young person’s responsibility to arrange this and not the Local Authorities duty.

 This could be participation in:

  • A full-time educational study programme at a college, school, with a training provider or an independent specialist provision
  • A traineeship or supported internship which are also considered to be educational study programmes
  • An apprenticeship with an employer which is a position of employment
  • A job or voluntary position with training provided e.g accredited part-time education or training.

What are Study programmes?

Study programmes are further education courses that can help you gain the skills you need to go on in to further education, get a job or become more independent.

A study programme is a full time programme, on average, 16 hours per week. This is usually 3 days per week and works out at approximately 540+ hours across the academic year. It will usually include the following:

  • A substantial qualification (academic or vocational)
  • Continuing to improve English and maths, working towards GCSE grade C / grade 4 where appropriate
  • Work experience
  • Study programmes can last for anywhere between 1-3 years, depending on the young person’s starting point.
  • Disabled young people and those with special educational needs might need more support to complete a course.

The 3 main types of study programme usually followed by young people:

Work based

This is learning that takes place in a work environment. It is a practical way of learning that offers real life work experience whilst working towards relevant qualifications in the industry.

E.g. Supported Internship, Traineeship, Apprenticeship


This is learning involving more practical activities and is commonly used to prepare a person for a particular trade or industry. These qualifications enable you to develop industry skills which can be applied to real life situations to prepare for employment. They also support the development of independence and like skills. Some courses may require learners to take exams as well as produce evidence of their new skills and knowledge throughout the year.

E.g. BTEC, NVQ, Laser, ASDAN


This is a more formal style of learning that is usually based on theory rather than practical activities. These qualifications are recognised by employers and universities. They also support the development of independence and life skills. Assessments usually include an exam towards the end of the course and the learning style provides good foundations for progression to higher education.

E.g. GCSE, AS Level, A Level

What are course levels and qualifications?

There are lots of courses of different levels available.  The aim of every course, no matter what level, should be about making progress in developing new skills. There is a starting point for everyone. The different level of courses is explained below:

Pre entry level

Students on these courses will often have high support needs. Most students on these courses will previously have been in special schools. The courses usually look at developing independence.

Entry level courses

On these courses there is a high level of support and students are usually developing life skills and possibly with some vocational skills. Most students will have been working on P-Levels.

Level 1 courses

These courses are for young people who have developed functional skills and are looking to gain qualifications like GCSE's, Level 1 NVQ's and Level 1 Diplomas. 

Level 2 courses

Young people on these courses will be ready to gain qualifications like BTEC Diplomas, more GCSE's and intermediate level Apprenticeships.

Level 3 courses

On these courses young people will be working towards qualifications like A-levels and Apprenticeships.

Higher education

After a level 3 course you might want to go on to a higher education course, which are University level courses or employment. Please note Education. Health and Care (EHC plans do not continue if students progress into Higher Education. Support for students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities in Higher Education is accessed through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)


Every course is designed to help you get a qualification or reach an outcome at the end of it.  At the start of any course you should be aware of what the qualification or outcomes you hope to achieve by the end of the course.  Achieving your qualification may be a combination of coursework, module assessment or end of year exam. Your tutor will be able to guide you through this process.

How do I get on a further education course?

Almost all courses will have 'entry requirements' for students to meet to be able to get a place on a course.  The 'entry requirements' are the level of learning or skills and understanding you need to have to be on a course.  Every course publishes their entry requirements with their course details.

If your school has a sixth form and it was agreed at your Year 10 annual review that it can meet your needs after Year 11 then you may automatically have a place in Year 12 without the need to reapply. However, if you are considering sixth form at a different school you will probably still need to apply for a place.

You may want to attend a further education and if at your Year 10 annual review this was your preference and it was felt this would be the most appropriate provision for you after Year 11 you will need to decide what course you want to study at college. You should contact colleges in the autumn term of Year 11 to discuss the courses available, the support they can offer you and how you apply.

Young people aged 16-19 are not expected to pay course fees when accessing further education. However, you may have to pay for equipment related to the course. This is usually associated with vocational programmes such as hairdressing, beauty, construction, catering etc.

Young people 19-25 without an EHC plan may be asked to pay course fees.

What support might I be able to get on a further education course?

Young people aged 16-19 may be able to claim money (a bursary) for you or your college/training provider to use to meet the cost of clothing, equipment or lunch on study days.

Young people who have additional needs should be able to get support to help them achieve and make progress. You should discuss your needs at your interview.

Young people with an EHC plan will have an individual support plan in place which will be reviewed annually. It is helpful for you to inform the provider that you have a plan when you attend interview.

If you think you will need an Education, Health and Care plan, please contact SENDIASS Torbay who will be able to offer you information advice and support.

Work-based learning

There are several different types of work-based learning that give you the opportunity to train and get qualifications while working.  For some young people going into a work environment suits them better than staying just in the classroom.

Study programmes include:


These courses allow you to develop your skills and gain qualifications (including English and Maths for those who need it) whilst benefiting from high quality work experience. They can help you prepare for a supported internship or apprenticeship. Usually they last for 6 months and give you an opportunity to develop the skills you need to progress on to a supported internship (for those with an EHC plan), an apprenticeship or paid employment. The work experience is not paid, but the costs of travel and meals might be supported by the training provider or employrer. Traineeships are suitable for those working at around Level 1 and who might benefit from additional support to prepare them for work.

Supported internship

Supported internships are for disabled young people and those with significant special educational needs. To get a supported internship you will need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. As a supported intern a young person will work for an employer for a fixed time, usually for up to 1 year. You do not usually get paid for your work but some employers may cover travel and lunch expenses. As an intern you won't gain qualifications but you will get the opportunity to experience what working is like and gain the skills towards getting a job. If you are on a supported internship you will get support from a job coach. A job coach will make sure a young person is prepared for and supported through their supported internship. They provide extra support that you would not normally get on an internship.

Employment includes:


As an apprentice you can earn whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification and getting 'on the job' training. It's a way to gain experience, strengthen your CV and build your career. There is a wide range of apprenticeships available to suit every skill and passion and the training provider will offer support for your additional needs.

Paid work (job) or Volunteering with training provided

Although young people must be doing some form of recognised accredited education or training until their 18th birthday, this does not mean they have to attend college or school. For those that would rather work (wether paid or voluntary) this is still an option, as long as it involves at least 20 hours of work per week in addition to working towards a nationally recognised qualification. You can become self-employed and still count as participating, as long as you are doing part-time accredited education or training as well.

Information for Parents / Carers

It is possible to claim child benefit for a young person after their 16th birthday if they continue in full-time approved education or training. This includes traineeships but not apprenticeships. The Child Benefit Office must be informed otherwise payments will stop on 31st August. For full details go to Claim Child Benefit - GOV.UK (

Post 16 Transport arrangements for students over Yr 11 are different from school transport arrangements for students under 16.

Parents/guardians will not be prosecuted if their young person does not participate in approved education or training after Year 11.

Young people with an EHC Plan will continue to have an annual review which will monitor progress towards their agreed outcomes.

If a young person has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and they progresses into Higher Education (University) thier EHC plan will be ceased and they will need to apply for a Disabled Student's Allowance.