Education and Training for 16-18s

All young people can leave school at 16 if they want to.

But by law they must be in education or training till 18, or in work with training.

There are different ways a young person can do this, including:

  • A-level qualifications-which are usually more academic. This is the most common route into university. Most students study 3 or 4 A-Levels – either in a school sixth form, or in college.
  • Vocational qualifications (such as BTECs) – which usually include a mix of study and practical skills for a particular area of work. Most students study one big course eg Health and Social Care, or Business, or Applied Science, or Childcare, or Engineering, or Construction, or Hospitality.
  • Apprenticeships – which allow students to work, get paid a wage and study for a qualification at the same time.

Get some good advice

Look at all the options and get advice at Bradford Connexions (13-25 year-olds).

Young people can also contact Aspire-Igen.

This organisation provides free advice on training and education options and how to find work.

It also offers a programme called aspire2work.  This provides training and work experience for 16-19 year-olds.

You can make an appointment to visit a career adviser at the Bradford city centre office.


Many secondary schools (not all) offer full time education for 16-18 year-olds, including A-Levels and some vocational courses. This is usually known as ‘sixth form’. Most of Bradford’s 16 -18 year olds study courses in a school sixth form (Years 12 and 13).

Don’t be confused by the name ! Some schools have the word ‘College’ or ‘Academy’ in their name – but they are schools.

You can Google – Bradford Secondary Schools to get a list of schools.

Then look at the website for the school(s) you are interested in, to see what courses they offer in the sixth form. You can make an appointment to visit the school(s).


There are Further Education (FE) colleges in Bradford, and Sixth Form Colleges, which run courses for young people, aged 16-18.

Some of the colleges also run courses for adults who want to improve their skills, learn English or learn something new.

You can see details of the colleges below – at the end of this page.

Choosing a college

Like schools, colleges are inspected by Ofsted to check for the quality of their teaching and how well the students achieve. The colleges also offer open days which allow you to visit, meet the tutors and look at the teaching facilities.

Applying for a college place

Colleges follow the same term time as schools. Most courses usually start in September.

You usually apply online, using the college website, or by requesting a paper application form.

Check the deadline for applications to the college, because it may be different for different courses.

College staff can help you decide which course is best, and help you fill out the application form.

When you have applied, you will usually be invited to a college interview, with the tutors.

Cost? Most courses are free for 16-18 year-olds. But there may be course fees to pay for adult students, depending on your circumstances. The college staff can advise you about this.

Bradford Further Education (FE) colleges and Sixth Form Colleges

Bradford College

Shipley College

Keighley College

Bowling College

Motive8 (a small college for vocational training, including Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications)

Dixons Sixth Form Academy (sixth form college)

New College Bradford (sixth form college)

Age on 1st
School YearKey StageStart / Leave SchoolLevel of schooling
Age 3Nursery/Pre-schoolFoundation Stage
Age 4ReceptionYou can start school in September after 4th birthday. Maybe a mid-year start.
You must start school by September after 5th birthday.
Primary School
Age 5Year 1Key Stage 1
Age 6Year 2Key Stage 1
Age 7Year 3Key Stage 2
Age 8Year 4Key Stage 2
Age 9Year 5Key Stage 2
Age 10Year 6Key Stage 2
Age 11Year 7Key Stage 3You change schools in September after 11th birthday.Secondary School
Age 12Year 8Key Stage 3
Age 13Year 9Key Stage 3
Age 14Year 10Key Stage 4
Age 15Year 11Key Stage 4
Age 16Year 12Post- 16 School or College or Work
Age 17Year 13Post- 16 Till aged 18, you must be in education, training, employment (e.g. apprenticeship)
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