When it comes to the question of what to do following GCSEs, there are a lot of options to consider. Therefore, the Department for Education has put together a couple of simple and handy guides to inform young people and their parents about the options available to them. These include:

  • A route comparison grid – which shows all of the routes available after GCSEs, along with additional information on each one, such as the level of study, entry requirements, duration of the course, and where it can lead
  • A 2-minute animation – showcasing and explaining each choice in a simple, dynamic and visual manner

Options after GCSEs

Updated: 09/04/2021 459 KB

There are many things to consider when choosing where you will continue your education. It is important that you research what the best option for you will be.

The next step after leaving school can be a worrying thought but at the same time, it should be viewed as an amazing opportunity to broaden your horizons and start the next chapter of your future pathway. There are many considerations. For some, it may be necessary to ensure you are as close to home as possible, whereas for others, the notion of moving away may be exciting. It is important to investigate the establishments that you can choose from - the course needs to be right for you.


Again, your Start account can give you all the information you need. Simply select the ‘Where to Learn’ tab and then enter an option or combination of qualification, subject and/or location to find colleges, sixth forms, universities, training providers and universal technical colleges, with links directly to their websites.

The Uni Guide:

This is another site that enables you to discover which colleges and universities offer courses you may be interested in. Alternatively, you could select a place of study based on its location.


Of, course, not all qualifications need you to go to college or university full-time. You could be gaining a qualification whilst working as an apprentice. There are different entry levels for different levels of apprenticeship and if you feel you’re not ready for an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a course designed to prepare you for one

Levels of Apprenticeships
Intermediate Advanced Higher Degree
Level 2

12-18 months

Equivalent to 5 GCSEs
grades A*- C
Level 3

18-48 months

Equivalent to 2 A-levels
or a Level 3 qualification
Level 4,5,6,7

24+ months

Equivalent to foundation degree
level - NVQ L4 - HND
Level 6,7

36+ months

Equivalent to degree level
(Bachelors or Masters)

Find an Apprenticeship:

How your favourite subjects could lead to an apprenticeship!

Updated: 09/04/2021 1.17 MB