Post-16 Choices and Applications

Students need to be in education or training until the age of 18. This can be:

  • School sixth form
  • Sixth form college
  • College
  • Apprenticeship/Traineeship
  • Armed services


There are a range of courses available including:

A Levels

These are Level 3 courses, traditionally seen as qualifications leading to university

BUT they are also entry direct into the job market, or onto Higher Apprenticeships.

Typical grades needed – mostly grade 5 and 6



These exist at a number of different levels and are vocational courses. They are different the size - typically they are worth three A levels/BTECs and can lead to university courses.

Typical grades needed:

  • for level 3 courses – mostly grade 4
  • for level 2 courses – mostly grade 3
  • for level 1 courses – mostly grade 2



These are studied at college and comprise four days a week of study and one day a week of work experience. Like diplomas this is one large qualification and can lead to university courses.

Typical grades needed – mostly grade 4 and 5



These are for students who are interested in work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship, but aren’t yet ready. These aren’t appropriate for all students and should be viewed with care. We recommend going through a known provider such as GlosCol or Prospects.



Apprenticeships provide a chance to earn and learn. They typically involve working for 4 days a week with an employer and spending 1 day a week in college. Apprentices get paid and are entitled to other employee benefits such as paid holiday and sick pay.


There are different levels of apprenticeship:

Intermediate – Level 2

Advanced – Level 3

Higher – Level 4+

Degree apprenticeships – Level 5+



Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a job. Unlike sixth form or college, students are in competition with lots of other people to get the place. Students are expected to find places themselves, although support is available.

Where do Pittville Students go?

The application process

In Year 10 students take part in sessions about post-16 options, writing CVs and personal statements

In September of Year 11 students learn about the specific options available locally and the application process. Information is available on the Year 11 Careers Information TEAM

In the autumn term students meet post-16 providers and take part in mock interviews. Colleges and employers start offering Open Events - keep a eye on TEAMS for up to date information. Colleges and some sixth forms open their application process.

In January most Cheltenham Sixth forms hold their Open Events and then open for applications. Many engineering companies also hold Open Events and open for applications.

During the spring term sixth form and college interviews take place. By Easter offers are made and applications close. At this point ACCEPT ALL OFFERS MADE. No decisions have to made at this point. For those seeking apprenticeships keep an eye on TEAMS and the National Apprenticeship website for opportunities.

In the summer term you may be invited to a taster day. Attend all offered, if possible.

On results day in August, decide which place you want to take up and inform the school, college or employer of your results. There is no need to make a final decision before this point!