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Further education at 16+

What is Further Education (FE)?

Further Education usually means courses taken at a college. Colleges offer a whole range of different courses and study programmes from those that do not need any specific GCSE grades such as Entry Level courses through to apprenticeships, A Levels, Higher Education degrees, and professional or technical qualifications. All young people must now stay in education or training until their 18th birthday. Many young people choose to leave school after 16 and go to Further Education College so they can develop their skills and qualifications before they progress into a job or higher education course, either at a college or a university.

Find your local Further Education provider.

Watch this video to see what a college is like

FE colleges are friendly and diverse places to study. Students come from many countries and from all different backgrounds and with a whole range of abilities. As well as supporting students across all courses, a college may also have provision for students with more complex learning difficulties or disabilities.

Every FE College is different, some are very large and run over several sites, whilst others are small and based in the centre of a city or town or in a rural area with their own accommodation. Make sure you visit open evenings and other events and ask the colleges about the destinations of their students – what do they go on to study, do they find relevant work?

When choosing your FE college; think about the sort of environment you will be happy in, how easy is it to get there, will the course or study programme they offer get you where you want to go, do they have clubs and activities to interest you?

College is for all age groups

14 – 16 year olds

A few students may come to an FE college to study vocational courses through a specific pre 16 programme whilst they are still learning at school. This could involve the student doing 1 or 2 days a week at school and the same at college.

These arrangements are normally made as an agreement between the college and the school. Ask your school for more information.

16 to 19 year olds

Further Education tuition is free for 16–19 year olds. Students of this age go to college for all sorts of courses, such as A levels, T levels, Art foundation and apprenticeships.

Most full time courses at college are aimed at young people with little experience of the world of work and they focus on developing a student's employability skills while they complete their courses.

Over 19 years old

  • There are lots of adults studying professional part time courses in the evening like business and accountancy qualifications.
  • Many adults are doing courses to improve their Maths, English, IT and study skills to enable them to progress at work or onto another course.
  • Many adults who are working study a course at at a Higher Education level part time - such as Foundation Degrees or HNDs
  • For some courses, students aged 19 or older may need to pay fees. Check with the college to find out more.
  • Leisure courses are also available to develop skills such as painting, creative writing and photography.

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