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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 thier 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 theese 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.

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.

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.