How to support
Year 11 to further
We often talk to post-16 students about how
important it is to strongly consider whether
university is right for them and which course
would suit them best. But what about before
higher education, at college and sixth form?
Further education can also have an impact on
what future options are available to students.
Through working with sixth forms and colleges,
my team and I have identified a gap in support
for Year 11 students taking their next steps to
transition from school into further education.
Here, I have compiled a list of key ways you
can support students when making this
Identifying course options available
Making sure students are aware of the full
range of qualifications they can access at
further education level is important to ensure
they choose the most suitable option for them.
A Levels, T Levels and Apprenticeships vary
in course structure, teaching style, subject
options and student assessment. Creating
clear distinctions between these qualifications,
detailing what they entail can help learners to identify what environment they learn best in and
therefore what type of qualification will improve
their chances of success.
College or sixth form: what’s best for them?
There are a number of differences between
college and sixth form. Firstly, students who
are adaptable and seeking independence may
be more suited to college as they will be in a
completely new environment with lots of new
people. Colleges can also allow free periods
in student timetables and often require more
self-motivation, so students will need to be
disciplined and committed to their chosen
courses to succeed in this environment.
Sixth forms will often suit students who prefer
familiarity and structure. If their school has a
sixth form, they will already be familiar with
the environment, teachers and other students,
making for a shorter transition phase. There
is also potential for more academic support
in sixth forms where teachers check in with
students more regularly, reminding them of
their deadlines and encouraging them to
manage their time well.
Preparation for further education
While being prepared for the academic
progression to further education is important,
the life skills students need as young adults
are also imperative. Highlighting the value of
time management and organisation will help to
ensure they have a good balance between work
and general life.
The sooner students begin to prioritise their
mental health and reduce stress levels, the
higher chance of good wellbeing and high
achievement in their studies.