Post 16 Pathways

Best if you are good at Exams

Academic studies are best for those who are good at research, writing and independent thinking. They are subject based and are assessed by examination. Learners usually study up to four subjects.

A levels and most Academic studies are Level 3 programmes that usually require at least 5 A* to C grades at GCSE including English and Math’s. Learners who might not get these grades should have a back-up plan.


  • Wide variety of Subjects.
  • Flexible combination of subjects provides more options.
  • Excellent reputation with both employers and universities.

Things to consider

Reliance on ‘one-off’ exams.

Much more independent study required.

Best if you enjoy Coursework

Vocational courses are best if you are good at coursework or if you enjoy doing practical tasks. They are vocationally (jobs) focussed and are assessed on practical performance and coursework.

Vocational courses are also available at Level 3 and these require equally good grades. However, vocational colleges are able to offer the same courses at a lower level in order to suit your goals and your ability.


  • Courses for all levels of ability.
  • Assessment by coursework with less reliance on examinations.
  • Provide the skills and knowledge required by employers.

Things to consider

  • Single course choice requires a clear understanding of goal(s).

Best for Work Experience

Apprenticeships or other types of work based training is best if you are good at practical work and have a definite career in mind. They are assessment based and judged on what you do ‘on the job’.

Apprenticeships are offered at both Level 3 and Level 2. These require reasonably good grades. Other types of work based training are available at lower levels for those learners who do not achieve well in school.


  • Earn money as you learn skills.
  • Opportunity to undertake ‘real- life’ working experience.
  • Potential full-time employment after a successful placement .

Things to consider

  • Competition for best vacancies.
  • Not suitable for all careers.

For further information