School leavers survival guide

Leaving school can be worrying and confusing at the best of times, but this year, you might feel more worrying and confusing because of the impact of Covid-19.

This survival guide is packed with information about where to get help and what to do next – whether you’ve already applied for a place in college, sixth form or training provider or not!

Where can you get help and advice from?

Just because you are no longer in school, doesn’t mean that you can’t access help from there. In fact, your school and the careers team are the first place for you to contact for any help that you need as you leave Year 11 and move into further learning or training. The staff at your school are available to support you with any questions or concerns about moving onto college, sixth form or an apprenticeship.

If you’re not sure who to contact, your school’s Careers Leader will be listed on their website.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

I’ve already applied to college/sixth form for September. Can I still go?

Yes! If you’ve already applied, you will be offered a confirmed place, subject to the usual entry requirements, so don’t worry! If the college, sixth form or training provider hasn’t already been in touch about your offer and what you need to do next or you are worried and just want some re-assurance, you can:

    • Contact your careers adviser in school.
    • Check out the website of the college, sixth form or training provider to find out about arrangements and next steps (see the last section, which has a list of providers).
    • Contact the college, sixth form or training provider.

I haven’t applied for anything? Are colleges, sixth forms and training providers still accepting applications?

Yes! Don’t worry – it’s not too late to apply! Colleges, sixth forms and training providers are still taking applications. You can apply online and any interviews will be held by telephone or virtually. Check out the providers below and click on the links to apply today. Remember if you need any help filling in the application form, contact your school’s careers team.
You can also get some information about different pathways via this video.

Am I able to do a taster session before I go to college?

Unfortunately, colleges, sixth forms and training providers aren’t offering ‘actual’ tasters BUT many are offering you the opportunity of ‘virtual’ taster days. Check out their website for more details.

Can I still look round a college, sixth form or training provider? 

You won’t be able to physically go and have a look round BUT many providers have put a virtual tour on their website to give you an idea about what it’s like. Have a look at their website.

I’ve applied for an apprenticeship. What should I do now?

While some employers may still take you on, many more may no longer be able to and may have placed any apprenticeship vacancies on hold until after the Covid-19 crisis. If you’ve applied and been offered a place, get in touch with the employer to check that nothing has changed and to find out if you can still start. You should also think about a back-up plan too. Check out the list of providers below and apply for a back-up plan today!

What’s happening about my GCSE’s? Will I get a grade?

Although all GCSE exams were cancelled this year, you will get a ‘calculated grade’ for each of your subjects. This grade will take account of any mock exams, coursework and non-exam assessment. AND there will still be a GCSE Results day – it’s on the 20th August. Look at your school website to check out arrangements for getting your GCSEs – your GCSE results day may look a little different this year, but it is still an important day for you.

Will colleges, sixth forms and training providers accept these grades?

Yes. These are formal grades with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. They will be accepted by all institutions.

If I get my grades and I’m not happy, what do I do?

All exam boards are working hard to make sure grades awarded are fair and recognise the work you have put in. BUT if you are not happy with the grade you have been awarded, you may be offered the opportunity to sit the exam at a later date.

I wanted to do NCS this summer, will it still be going ahead?

Unfortunately, NCS is not going ahead this summer due to the ongoing situation. However, they are offering young people an alternative programme free of charge. If you had already applied, please check your emails for an update from NCS regarding refunds and the alternative programme. If you hadn’t applied yet, here is the link for more information:

I’ve been contacted by a provider about enrolment, what does it mean?

Enrolment is when you register to be on your course and part of the college, sixth form or training provider. Usually this would take place in the provider’s building, but this year it is unlikely that you will be able to physically go and enrol, so it is likely that this year, enrolment will be done online. The provider should be in touch with you and their website should have more information the closer it gets to September.

Local Provider Websites