The Government policy Raising the Participation Age (RPA), states that young people who started education in year 11 (or the years below) in September 2013, must remain in some form of education or training until 18 years. This is to help young people fulfil their potential, regardless of their background or life circumstances. The school leaving age has not changed. Young people will be able to leave school after year 11 and choose the post-16 option that is best for them.
The available options include:
- full-time education – such as school or college
- an apprenticeship or traineeship
- part-time education or training - as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.
Sixth form and college
If your child remains in full-time education they may be able to study at their own school's sixth form, the sixth form of another school, or at a sixth form college. There are also a number of colleges specialising in a particular subject such as art and design or dance and drama. You can find further details in our transition guide to local post 16 education options and support services.
Traineeships and apprenticeships
A traineeship gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship through work experience. It can last from 6 weeks to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months.
You can use the GOV.UK website to search for local traineeship opportunities.
An apprenticeship gives you on the job training whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification, and you earn a salary. You can gain experience, strengthen your curriculum vitae (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 any additional needs.
Support for young people with additional needs and disabilities
Post-16 education providers have similar responsibilities to schools to provide reasonable support to young people with additional needs and disabilities, including when they do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This could include access to a teaching assistant, specialist teachers, one to one support, therapy input, independence skills and adaptations to resources or technology to enhance accessibility.
If a young person does have an EHCP, the support outlined in their plan must be fulfilled by their Post 16 education provider.