There are a range of providers across Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire which students can select as their Post 16 destination after GCSEs. Through Year 10 and Year 11, students have opportunities to hear from provides, both via visits to the Academy and by students attending Taster Days. These interactions and visits allow students to understand the range of courses available to them once they leave Caistor Yarborough Academy. The Taster Days allow students to sample different courses and get a feel for what Post 16 education looks like.
In England and Wales, A-levels are probably the most well-known post-16 option for students who have just completed their GCSEs. The A-level is a two-year course (when studied full time) split into two halves. The first half is called AS, which is a standalone qualification. At 16, students usually choose four AS subjects, then pick three to continue to a full A-level. The second year is known as the “A2 year”.
Students may take AS exams in all four subjects at the end of their first year. In the subjects they choose to continue in, these first-year exams won’t be counted towards their A-level. A-levels are examined in one set of exams at the end of the second year. Some students take more or fewer than three A-levels.
In Scotland, students take SQA Scottish highers instead of A-levels. These courses usually take one year – the fifth year of secondary school in Scotland – but can be taken over two years. Students usually take four to five subjects, and can choose to extend their knowledge by taking advanced highers in their sixth year if they want to.
Both A-levels and Scottish highers provide UCAS points for university.
T-levels are a new two-year qualification currently being introduced to provide post-16 students with a more practical, hands-on and vocational alternative to A-levels. They are like a half-way house between A-levels and apprenticeships.
T-levels focus on providing students with technical and practical skills for the workplace. However, the majority of students’ time – about 80% – is spent in the classroom studying. Like A-levels, T-levels lead to UCAS points which can be taken into account in higher-education applications. However, instead of selecting a number of subjects, as with A-levels, students undertake a single T-level programme.
T-levels include an industry placement lasting 315 hours. As well as providing a route into the workplace or higher education, students can also continue on to a higher apprenticeship. T-levels are being gradually introduced over a number of years. Three courses were introduced in 2020 and a further seven are due to be introduced in September 2021, with the remaining 15 coming over the following two years.
An advanced apprenticeship is a two-year level 3 qualification equivalent to two A-levels. Like all apprenticeships, they provide training in a paid workplace setting, with time out of work to study towards a qualification or a number of qualifications. These qualifications could include a BTEC and/or one or more NVQs.
Prospective apprentices usually need five GCSEs at grade 4+ to qualify for an advanced apprenticeship although if your child doesn’t meet this requirement it is sometimes possible to work towards GCSEs or functional skills while completing the apprenticeship.
Apprentices are paid a minimum of the apprenticeship wage, which as of April 2022 is £4.81 per hour for first-year apprentices aged 19 or under. In the second year of their apprenticeship, apprentices aged 18 or over will earn £6.83 or more.
There are three main types of BTEC:
- BTEC Firsts– up to Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE standard).
- BTEC National diplomas– from Level 3 (a similar standard to having studied three A-levels or a T Level).
BTEC Apprenticeships – from Levels 2 to 5 (higher apprenticeship standard).
While BTEC Nationals are also available at two other levels – award (equivalent to one A-level) and certificate (two A-levels) – a BTEC National Level 3 diploma would be ideal if you’re thinking of going to university.
The BTEC qualification is comprised of different core units covering specialist topics required by the sector or industry. There are also optional units to pick from, providing students with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of a particular area of interest, ensuring that what they’re learning about fits in with their future plans.