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Further Education (FE) refers to educational choices made after your 16th birthday. It covers all qualifications lower than a degree. Everyone has to study FE until they are 18.

Further education – the options

In 2014, it became compulsory for all students to continue in one form of further education or another until their 18th birthday. If staying on at school does not appeal, then there are plenty of alternatives such as a sixth form college or an independent FE provider or institution. You could also consider an apprenticeship.

The accepted forms of Further Education for 16+ are:

A Levels
By far the most common form of FE, this is what you’re most likely to study if you stay in school for sixth form.

Art Foundation Diploma Course
This is a BTEC vocational course that is for school leavers wishing to either test the water and see if they like studying art or is for students who are certain that they want to do a BA in fine art.

BTEC Nationals
BTEC Nationals, otherwise known as The Business and Technology Education Council qualification, are overseen by Pearson.  For students who want to hone practical skills and theory simultaneously while being tested, largely, by continuous assessment, they are an ideal choice.

Many people will know BTEC Highers by the acronym HNC, Higher National Certificate and HND, Higher National Diploma.

National Vocational Qualifications in the past have received bad press, but they do what they say on the tin and are excellent vocational qualifications for certain fields.

Technical Baccalaureate (TechBac)
Newly introduced in 2014, the TechBac are practical, vocational, courses run by the City and Guilds aimed at 16-19-year-olds wanting technical qualifications and soft skills.

University Technical College (UTC)
There are a number of alternatives to mainstream school. University Technical Colleges and TechBac provide courses which are taught at local colleges. These may suit students looking for traditional academic learning combined with practical skills. A certain number of previous qualifications such as a GCSE or BTEC are required to be eligible for enrolment. 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King Jnr

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