What is the post-16 education system in England, Wales & Northern Ireland

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, young people between the ages of 16-18 are required to remain in education or enter employment that has a training element to that employment such as an apprenticeship.

  • There are several options open to them to do this:
  • Remain at school and enter the 6th form;
  • Leave school to enter a college which could be a sixth form college or a general further education college;
  • Leave school and become an apprentice with an employer and then undertake study at either a college or at a specialist training provider.

At the age of 19 onwards, young people are classed as ‘adults’. Adults within the post-16 sector will normally enrol on a course or programme of study that will either give them a qualification that will help them gain employment or help them gain a place at University.


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