Next Steps

Are you thinking about your educational choices post 16?

This section is full of information about your choices in education and learning from age 16, ranging from how qualifications have changed, further and higher education, local provision, apprenticeships and other avenues you may be considering.

Education information and changes

All young people should have a suitable offer of education or training after they complete their GCSE year. The local authority tracks young people from the age of 16 years up to September after their 18th birthday as part of the September Guarantee. This helps us to fulfil our duty to provide education and training to young people by working with partners, particularly schools and colleges to ensure young people are offered suitable options.

The offer should be appropriate to the young person’s needs and can include:

  • full-time education in school sixth-forms or colleges
  • an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • employment combined with part-time education or training

Update your details

Why not update us on your details of what you are doing after you finish year 11. Completing the form below helps us to support you better. We will be able to help you find and stay in the best learning destination. Not only that, we can also support you with finding your first job or apprenticeship!

Are you not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)? Sign up today and receive additional support, information and exciting new opportunity updates!

Step 1 of 5

  • Only young people aged 16-19 (up to 25 if there are learning difficulties or disabilities) should update their data using this form.
  • Please include the best email address to contact you on

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.

You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

Click here to find out information about the new GCSE grading scale.

The factsheet shows:

  • the new GCSE grading scale
  • standard and strong pass marks and what this means for students, schools, parents and employers
  • when the new grades will apply to different subjects

T Levels are due to be introduced from the academic year 2020 to 2021. T-Levels will be equivalent to three A-Levels and also include a work placement alongside two years study.

Your Choices at 16

You need to stay in education or training after you’re 16, but how you do this is up to you. There are lots of choices and you need to pick the one that will help you get the future you want.

Lots of schools have sixth forms. You can stay at your current school or move to a new one. Sixth forms tend to be smaller, and can offer more teaching structure and student support than colleges. For more information on sixth forms in Wiltshire click here.

Colleges are often larger and more informal than sixth forms, and they offer a wider variety of courses including apprenticeships, but they will expect you to be able to manage your own work and time effectively.

You need to find a school or college that offers the courses or subjects you are interested in studying, or the best route to the career you are interested in.  If you have specialist educational needs or other support needs, you will need to talk to your chosen provider to ensure they can support your needs.

Wiltshire has 1 college of further and higher education offering a huge range of courses covering all levels of qualification and is located on 4 campuses across the county:

Swindon has 2 colleges of FE:

For other colleges outside Wiltshire borders visit

Go to the Young People provision section below to see all the opportunities available in Wiltshire.

If you have a career sector or path in mind and want to start earning money as you learn, an apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll do a real job for a real employer; training on the job and working towards an industry-standard qualification.

Apprenticeships must last for a minimum of 12 months and are open to anyone aged 16 and over who is not in full-time education. Applying for an apprenticeship is different to applying for a college course, as you will either need to find an advertised vacancy, or search for an employer and training provider yourself.

As an apprentice you’ll be employed and will study for a qualification with the full support and commitment of your employer, at least 20% of your working hours are set aside for learning, often at a college, university or training provider, however there are lots of ways to undertake learning depending on your organisation and job role.

For more information on apprenticeships click here.

Traineeships are training programmes with real work experience, they can be for 6 weeks or up to 6 months and allow you to learn employability skills,  improve your maths and English qualifications if you need to, as well as getting some valuable work experience.

The work placement can last for as little as 5 weeks or last up to 5 months depending on your needs. You may have several work placements with different employers, or one placement with a single employer. You will not get paid but you are entitled to travel expenses to and from your work placement and if you are claiming Universal Credit then this will not be affected.

You will receive:

  • meaningful feedback on your performance from the employer
  • confirmation of completing a Traineeship
  • confirmation of your qualifications
  • a reference from the employer

You will also receive a guaranteed interview by the employer either for an actual job or apprenticeship (if one is available), or an exit interview to support you in your next steps.

For more information on traineeships or to apply for one click here.

You may prefer to find full time employment (but this will need to be for more than 20 hours a week to be counted as full time) and combine this with part-time study or training. You could work towards a nationally recognised qualification as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering.

For more information on finding employment click on the earn tab.

If you want to work as a volunteer, this will need to be for more than 20 hours a week and you will also need to combine this with part-time study or training.

For more information on volunteering click on the Earn tab.

16+ Choices: DfE resources

The Department for Education has put together a couple of simple and handy guides to inform young people about all of the post-16 options open to them. The route comparison grid shows all of the routes available after GCSEs, along with additional information on each route such as the level of study, entry requirements, duration of the course, where it can lead etc. There is also a 2-minute animation showcasing and explaining each choice.

Young People Provision

A list of opportunities and programmes that can support you into employment, education or training.

List of Opportunities