Choices for year 11

What are my choices?

When you get to the end of year 11 you have the option of leaving your current school, you still need to stay in some form of learning up until the age of 18 or if you want to get a job you will still need to do some studying .

Some people are very clear about what they want to do but it is good to talk things through with your parents and carers as they know you best, you can also get some help from your careers advisor in school.

Please see a list of the options below and some information about what you will need to do next.

Sixth Forms

You have the choice of either staying on at the Sixth form in your school or you might want to move on to another one. Think about how a change might affect you – do you want a fresh start, will you miss your teachers and friends are you ready to try something new?

  • 2 year AS/ A level programme mainly exam based.
  • Students take 3 or 4 different subjects.
  • Some sixth forms offer BTEC (Level 3) Diplomas (mostly coursework equivalent to A level standard) or a combination of A levels and diplomas. 
  • Sixth form requires at least 5 GCSEs at C and above for A level and BTEC Level 3 courses – higher grades may be required for some subjects / sixth forms
  • Rochester Grammar School  offers the International Baccalaureate, a combination of 6 subjects to include English, maths and a language plus a “Core Programme” – most subjects require A or B grades (see their website for details)
  • Some sixth forms offer 1 year vocational courses at Level 2 requiring D grades GCSE which can lead on to level 3 programmes. 

Further Education Colleges

College is very different from school and offersa variety of vocational, practical courses relating to a wide range of jobs as well as A levels.

  • Courses are offered at all levels from Foundation, requiring no GCSEs to Level 3 needing 5 GCSEs at Grades A to C, so you can find a programme to match your GCSE results whatever your grades. Level 3 Diplomas are equivalent to A levels and accepted for entry to many university courses
  • College courses are usually only 3 days. Some courses will involve a work placement such as Childcare and Health and Social Care so these will be four days per week.
  • No more assemblies, you will go straight to your lessons but your days might be longer than a school day but it is a shorter week which means you can get a part time job.
  • No uniform unless you are doing a specialised course such as catering, hair or beauty, health and social care, childcare or front line services.
  • Colleges are much bigger places than most schools – you will soon learn your way round just like you did in year 7!
  • Some things are the same – you will need to hand your work in on time and will be expected to attend all your timetabled lessons!



Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain work skills whilst studying for a qualification. Anyone over the age of 16 and not in full time education can apply for an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship involves working with an employer usually 4 days per week plus 1 day at college or with a training provider. You train on the job to achieve qualifications while earning a training allowance.

Competitive – there is a high demand for apprenticeships and only a limited number.

Entry requirements vary – some C grades at GCSE usually required.

Preparation for Work Traineeships

What is a Traineeship?

A Traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that is focused on giving you the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core is work preparation training, English and Maths for those who need it, and a high quality work experience placement.

Traineeships are offered by some training providers as well as College.

No GCSEs required

Training Providers:  Preparation for Work

 Programmes offered by some training providers as well as College combining personal development, key skills and work experience to prepare for employment.  No GCSEs required

Job with training

In 2013 Government has decided all young people must stay in some form of learning until they 18 by 2015.

This means you can go straight into work or be self-employed PROVIDED you combine this with an education course that leads to an accredited qualification.

What do I need to do next?

  • Think about your skills, interests, the subjects you enjoy and how you like to learn e.g. through practical activities, coursework, written exams etc.  Find out what your predicted GCSE grades are likely to be
  • Explore career ideas to help you choose your next steps.  See or  or (film clips of different careers)
  • For careers you like check:  Are any subjects/courses you need or would be useful after Year 11?
  • See and follow the link to to search for courses.
  • See also sixth form/college/training provider websites and prospectuses for detailed information about courses offered and their entry requirements. 
  • Make a list of any you think may suit your skills, learning style, career ideas  and which match your predicted grades.
  • Go to open evenings, many of which are held November to January plus additional college open evenings around March.  See schools / colleges websites for details and dates. 
  • Find out details about the courses on your list, how they are assessed (coursework and/or exams), what GCSE grades you need to have to be able to take the course and what you could do after finishing the course
  • List the pros and cons of each of the courses you are interested in.  Apply for the course(s) you feel would suit you best (check deadlines and how to apply with school/college).  
  • Apply for 2 or 3 choices if unsure of what to choose or what your GCSE grades are likely to be.  ALWAYS include a choice requiring lower GCSE grades than your first choice as a back up plan.
  • For apprenticeships register on  Vacancies for national schemes e.g. British Telecom may appear from November but for most local vacancies search from March onwards.
  • If applying for an apprenticeship always apply for either sixth form or college as a backup choice

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