The opportunities for pupils aged 16 and over have traditionally been either to leave school and start employment, or to stay and continue with their education. Although many pupils do still choose one of these options, it is likely there will be more opportunities available as there has been an increased government focus on and funding of education for 14 to 19 year old’s, and in particular a focus on reducing the number of young people not in education, and employment or training post 16. Under the old labour government it was that by the end of the September of the year that each young person leaves compulsory education, they will have a place in further learning available. The September guarantee was implemented nationally in 2007 and was later extended so that 17 year olds who have completed a short course or have chosen to leave the activity they selected on completing school will have the opportunity to extend their learning.
The September guarantee
Under the last labour government, the guarantee was the following: Full or part-time education in school, Sixth Form College, independent learning provider or Further Education College. An apprenticeship or programme-led apprenticeship, which must include both the training element and a job or work placement.
Entry to employment Employment with training to NVQ level 2
The reason behind these requirements is that by 2013, all pupils will be required to continue in education or training to at least 17 years of age. This does not mean that they will be required to remain in school, but they should be following one of the pathways above. It is possible that under the new government these may change.
Post- 16 options for young people and adults include employment, training and learning:
Continuing (or returning to) full-time education e.g. continuing studies in sixth forms, further education colleges and specialist colleges Studying part-time e.g. developing skills or interests via day/ evening classes, distance learning and on-line courses Getting work based training e.g. earning while learning by doing apprenticeships which lead to nationally recognised qualifications Getting into university and higher education e.g. full-time or part-time degrees, including undergraduate and postgraduate studies Taking a gap year e.g. before going to university taking a year out to travel or do volunteer work either at home or abroad Working as a volunteer to develop skills and gain work experience
Getting a job
Education choices for 16 to 18 year old’s in England include continuing in full-time education either at school/ college or continuing their learning through work based training such as apprenticeships. Continuing in full-time education includes studying for academic qualifications such as ‘AS’ or ‘A’ levels or work related qualifications such as the new vocational qualifications on the qualifications and credit framework. Selected colleges also offer the diploma qualification for 14 to 19 year old’s. Secondary schools and sixth form colleges offer general/ academic education, along with some courses in vocational/applied subjects. Further education colleges place a greater emphasis on vocational courses although they also offer general courses and tertiary colleges offer both general and vocational education. There are many opportunities for education and training available to adults aged 18 and over, offered by various types of education and training providers.
The main types of education and training available are:
Further education courses e.g. A levels, BTEC nationals and higher nationals Higher educational courses e.g. advanced diplomas and degrees Training for work e.g. vocational and sector-specific courses
Education and training courses may be offered at colleges, universities, in the workplace or by distance learning. Course fees for adult education vary depending on the level of the course and the type of qualification. Some adult learning courses are free. These include adult literacy courses and courses which lead to studying for qualifications such as GCSEs and A levels. Free tuition is available for people who do not already have GCSEs, A levels or equivalent and those claiming unemployment benefits.Besides the cost of the course itself, there are other costs associated with being an adult learner (or learner of any age for that matter) including travel costs, books and equipment. To spread the cost of learning some adults study part-time while in work or looking for employment. Courses are offered part time at all levels including further education and higher education. Distance learning is another option as distance learning courses are often cheaper, can be carried out at the learner’s own pace and cut out many course-related costs which adults may face such as travel, childcare and time lost at work. (O’Hara, 2010)