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Further Education / Choosing Further Education  

 

► So you're planning to go to sixth form or college?

If you are thinking about doing full time further study you could choose to go to:

A school sixth form.
A sixth form college.
A college of further education.

The ‘best place to study’ is the place that suits your needs so it’s useful to visit as many colleges and sixth forms as possible so that when you decide where to go you have made a well planned out choice.

Think about what career you want at the end of your studies:

To get into some careers such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, etc. you must study A levels so you need to decide between a school sixth form or a sixth form college (some colleges have sixth form colleges too).
Other careers such as beauty therapy, bricklaying, plumbing, etc require vocational qualification that you can take in a college or linked to an apprenticeship.

Choosing where to study in County Durham isn't easy. Here are some points to consider:

 

 
School Sixth Form
Sixth Form College
College of FE
Size School sixth forms tend to be relatively small with around 40-200 students Sixth form colleges tend to be large with 800-1000 students Colleges of further education are large with around 600-1500 students
Location School sixth forms are likely to be fairly near home There is only one large sixth form college which is in Durham City There are four colleges of further education located around County Durham
Student Age Range All students are aged 16-19 All students are usually aged 16-19 Students could be still at school, 16-19 or adults
Familiar/New Environment If its your own school there are advantages to staying somewhere where the staff know your strengths and learning style Sixth form colleges are large and you will get the chance to do a large range of subjects both familiar and new subjects with students from lots of other schools Colleges offer a new learning environment where adults and young people learn in the same place. You can learn new work related skills in practical
Range of Qualifications School sixth forms tend to offer A levels and some vocational subjects Sixth form colleges tend to offer A levels and some vocational subjects *Colleges tend to offer study in vocational subjects but some have a sixth form offering A levels
Subject Choices You can take subjects studied at GCSE such as English, Music, French, etc or try out new subjects such as Politics or Psychology (number of choices may be limited by size) You can take subjects studied at GCSE such as English, Music, French etc or try out new subjects such as Politics, Classics or Psychology (there may be more choice than in a school sixth form) There is usually a huge range of subjects linked to work areas such as Construction, Engineering, IT, Hairdressing, etc. Many will have practical assessment and few exams
Uniform Some sixth forms require students to wear school uniform No uniform required No uniform required but some courses may require specialist clothing e.g. chefs whites
Payment No payment for study but some bursaries available for specific students No payment for study but some bursaries available for specific students No payment for study but some bursaries and other funding may be available for specific students
* Colleges can also offer course that combine support with study for students with few GCSEs such as Steps for Success or Foundation Learning

 

Explore the 'qualifications' section to find out more about the different kinds of qualifications.

 

County Durham Prospectus

Current rating: 4 thumbs up  
Posted 19th December 2014
By Jade Blades
 
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