What Next? Post 16 Options

When you are in Years 10 and 11, you will make a lot of important decisions about what you are going to do next in your education. Some of you will be pretty certain about what you are going to do and some of you will not have any ideas at all – and that’s OK! You don’t need to have all the answers right now but it’s important that you are aware of your options and start thinking about which one is right for you.

The Government states that you have to stay in Education for at least two more years after your GCSEs. The main options you will need to choose from are: A levels, BTECs, apprenticeships.


College – A-Levels and BTECs.

It is really important that you check the entry requirements for not only your intended college, but for the individual courses/subjects too. For some subjects (often maths and physics) a grade 6 at GCSE is required in order to study further. For some BTEC courses, subject grades at GCSE may determine whether you begin at level 1, 2 or 3.

A few examples of College entry requirements are below. Please visit college websites to find out further details of their courses and entry requirements.


Entry Requirements

Esher College

The minimum entry requirement for study at Esher College is 5 GCSEs at 9-4. Esher encourages students to aim significantly higher than this to ensure that study programmes are successfully completed.


Strodes College

  • The minimum entry requirement is 5 GCSEs grade 9-4 or equivalent. You also need Grade 4 or higher in English Language or Maths.
  • Some subjects have additional entry requirements; these are explained in the course descriptions.


Brooklands College

Entry requirements differ depending on the level of the course.

For a Level 3 course 5 GCSE passes at 4 and above (ideally including English and Maths)

For a Level 2 course 5 GCSE passes at grade 3-1

For a level 1 course GCSE’s at grade 3-1


For full details, see Brooklands College prospectus.






A-Levels are when you learn about a subject through lessons, reading and research. You usually study 3 subjects over 2 years and they are academic and theory based. A-Levels include essays, exams and coursework. They are usually the gateway to University so it is important to check what A-Levels are needed for the University courses you might want to do. To do this, go onto the UCAS website.

To study A-Levels, you need a minimum grade 4 in English Language and Maths (though some colleges stipulate a 5), and usually grade 5 or 6 in your chosen subjects to progress to A-level. 



A BTEC is a vocational qualification which means it has a career focus and is linked to an industry. BTECs involve applied learning where theory links to practical activity. They also include coursework and practical assignments. There are different levels of BTEC ranging from Level 1 to Level 3. Level 3 can lead to University but you will need to achieve high marks.


Local Post-16 Options

Brooklands College:www.brooklands.ac.uk

Esher College: www.esher.ac.uk

Guildford College:www.guildford.ac.uk

Kingston College:www.kingston-college.ac.uk

Merrist Wood: www.merristwood.ac.uk

Richmond Upon Thames College:www.rutc.ac.uk

Strode’s College, Egham:  www.strodes.ac.uk

Woking College:www.woking.ac.uk



Apprenticeships are when you have a job in industry, so you gain real experience in the workplace while achieving a qualification. You also get paid a small wage and some apprenticeship schemes will even pay for you to go to University.

Apprenticeships can be found in a variety of places, including directly on employer websites. If there is a particular employer that you would like an apprenticeship with, it is worth contacting them directly to see if it is something they offer.

Alternatively, you can find apprenticeships here:






Also look on START website:


This is a fantastic careers tool that is completely free to use. It includes lots of careers information on different pathways and sectors. You can personalise and tailor your profile by “liking” certain elements. START will then suggest specific careers based on your “likes” and “dislikes”.

There are also online modules to complete, apprenticeship and work experience information and updated career labour market information.