More information on your options at the end of Year 11

Thinking about your options after Year 11?

Your main choices are:

  • full-time study
  • an apprenticeship
  • a job, self employment or voluntary work while also doing part-time education or training.

Investigate all the choices, see what is available and how these fit in with your career ideas.

Students completing year 11 must stay in learning until at least their 18th birthday.

Full-time study at a school sixth form or college

 There are courses to suit all interests and students of all abilities

 Courses and qualifications include:

  • A levels, T levels or International Baccalaureate. These are good if you want to take a range of subjects, like studying, and do well in exams. A levels are the main qualifications taken for entry to university. School and college entry requirements are usually GCSE grades 5/4 or above including maths and English, plus a spread of other subjects.
  • work-related courses. These cover broad career areas such as IT, music, art and design, construction, performing arts or business administration. They are good if you want to specialise in one subject. They can be studied at all ability levels. Qualifications include BTECs and Cambridge Technicals. These are also accepted for some university courses - check UCAS before deciding.
  • occupationally specific courses. These will give you the skills needed for a specific job such as hairdressing, nursery nursing, business administration, beauty therapy, IT or catering.

Check out all the level 2 and 3 qualifications you can do between 16 and 18.

Find out which school or college offers the subjects and qualifications you want to do

You can usually find this information out online on the websites of local school sixth forms and colleges that you are interested in applying to. Many schools and colleges also have open events where you can meet subject teachers and take a tour of the building. The Sixth Form and College Open Events bulletin has details of open events you can attend to find out more about the sixth form and college you want to apply to.

You can find links to local school sixth forms and colleges in the external links section on this page. 

For colleges across London see London Colleges Website.

The website Informed Choices offers advice on A level subjects and other courses needed to do Russell Group universities' degree courses.

Most universities offer advice about A level choice on their websites.


Apprenticeships are jobs with training - a mix of on and off-the-job training leading to qualifications at level 2-7, although you will normally start at level 2 or 3.

Intermediate apprenticeships are at level 2, advanced apprenticeships are at level 3 and higher and degree apprenticeships are at level 4 and above.

Skill areas include hairdressing, business administration, accountancy, IT, sport and leisure, hospitality, motor vehicle work, construction, engineering, retailing and others.

Most employers set entry or selection tests or ask for specific GCSE qualifications.

Apprentices are paid and earn at least £5.28 an hour from April 2023 (the National Minimum Wage rate) this changes every April but most earn a lot more.

The National Apprenticeship Service has details of all the apprenticeships offered. You should register online for vacancies. Find out more about local and London-based apprenticeships.

You need to look for a job that offers training, qualifications and prospects for the future.  

Find out about current apprenticeships in Islington.

For more advice about vacancies and training providers, and job hunting help, see Finding jobs and apprenticeships.

If you need help with job applications in Islington, contact the Progress Team at Lift or Platform and their team can help you. 

Working whilst learning

You can work or volunteer full-time after Year 11, but you must also study or train at the same time. This is because the government says you must do some form of learning until your 18th birthday.

Self employment

To have a successful business you need the right personal qualities, business skills and a business idea that has a good chance of succeeding. You need to research your ideas and plan your business carefully.

These organisations offer training, help and advice:

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