Post 16 service
Young people starting year 11 in September should begin to navigate the Post 16 prospectus (PDF, 2.1mb) to help them decide what and how they would like to study or train after secondary school. The September that comes after young people turn 16 is when the Post 16 Service welcome you to the post 16 cohort. This is when most young people start year 12. This could be at a sixth form or further education college, an apprenticeship, or employment with training. Wherever the young person decides to study, we encourage them to stay in contact during year 12 and 13 so we can track their progress. We are here to help if anything changes.
Starting year 12 or 13?
Young people need to apply to their chosen college or sixth form at least six months in advance.
When applying for college or sixth form, the applicant would need their original certificates (please ensure you keep these safe) as these are checked by the college or sixth form. If the applicant is new to the UK, qualifications from aboard can be checked by the chosen college or sixth form, and they will let the young person know if they meet the entry requirements. Applicants for apprenticeships would also need to meet the specification criteria (check GCSE grades). The application process can take up to three months.
Get all the correct documents ready
This includes evidence of qualifications and documents. For example, a valid passport or valid photo identification, their national insurance number and proof of address. See the chosen college or sixth form website for more information.
Have a backup plan
Always have a backup plan to register with another sixth form or college in case the applicant is placed on a waiting list, or their qualifications do not meet the entry requirements for an apprenticeship, college, or sixth form. Make sure the applicant goes to enrol if they are offered a place. College and sixth form places are limited, so ensure once they get into their chosen form of learning that they keep up their good attendance and engagement. They should ask for help as soon as possible from their personal tutor or the student adviser at the college.
What to do if you miss the September start
Contact the Post 16 Service as soon as possible and we will do our best to sign post the young person to another college, or find them an engagement programme or service. Remember to have all the correct documents ready to enrol at college to ensure the applicant is able to go to an interview as soon as we find them a match. Otherwise, they may have to wait until the following September to access a full time accredited qualification.
See the Post 16 prospectus for more information on entry requirements and eligibility criteria.
Post 16 prospectus
This prospectus provides contact details of sixth forms in Southwark and further education colleges in London, the student bursary criteria, and other useful information. If you can't find what you're looking for, contact the sixth form or college direct.
What happens next
Once the young person is in year 12 or 13, we invite them to complete the Post 16 Activity Survey. Please share their Education, Employment or Training (EET) destination. If they are with or without a participation destination in-year 12 or 13, do check the post 16 prospectus at the earliest opportunity. If you need further guidance, contact us using the activity survey.
The Post 16 Service will get in contact and guide the young person to explore their options to achieve a sustainable EET progression route. We are here to support if anything changes throughout year 12 and 13.
- check entry requirements
- get all the correct documents ready
- use the prospectus to find a backup plan
All schools and training providers have a duty to offer careers guidance to young people to enable them to achieve their participation age. In summary, all school leavers after year 11 must stay in some type of education or training until they are 18 years old. This is called raising the participation age. We encourage young people to stay in education, employment or training beyond the age of 18.
Page last updated: 19 December 2023