A very useful site to answer some of the questions parents  ask is Parental Guidance.

Below, you will find some frequently asked questions and answers.

At what age can my daughter/son leave school?

A young person can leave school at the end of the school year in which they turn 16.  The official school leaving date is the last Friday in June of the school year in which they turn 16.  They can then start an apprenticeship or formal traineeship with an employer, so long as they continue to learn part time, or a full time course at school or college.  All young people are required to remain in full or part time learning for two years after their school leaving date at the end of Year 11.  The definition of full or part time learning includes full time courses at school sixth forms and colleges, and part time learning on apprenticeships, formal traineeships with an employer and work based learning programmes.

Is there a list of the school sixth forms, colleges and training providers in the Sheffield area?

Use the on line prospectus to search for courses in sixth forms, colleges and training providers in Sheffield and surrounding areas on Sheffield Progress.   This on line prospectus is used in schools with Year 11 students to help them research their options and in Sheffield, to make applications.

How can I help my teenager with their career choice and applications?

Ask them about their career/study plans and help them to research their ideas further, using the careers information and higher education sections of this website.  Find out what their school is organising as part of the careers/PSHE programme, including evening events and get them to talk about what they have learnt and encourage them to attend Open Evenings at colleges and school sixth forms, and Careers/Post 16 evenings organised at school.  Talk to their teachers at Year 11 Parents’ evenings so that you and your teenager are clear about predicted grades and what this means for the level of the courses /apprenticeships they can consider.  Help your teenager to manage texts, letters and information they receive from colleges and training providers to do with their applications.  Schools encourage parents to attend their teenager’s careers interview, with the permission of the teenager, so find out when this is and let your teenager and the school know if you are able to attend.

Is there any financial support for going to college/sixth form?

If your teenager attends college or sixth form, or a work based learning organisation full time, child benefit should continue to be paid up to their 19th birthday so long as they remain in full time learning (not university).  If they do an apprenticeship where they are employed and receiving a training allowance or regular salary, child benefit is not payable. – more information.

Colleges, sixth forms and work based learning organisations each have a 16-19 Bursary Fund to help students from low income households.   Decisions about awarding bursary funds are made on an individual basis by each college, sixth form and work based learning organisation.  If you would like to be considered for bursary funding, enquire once your teenager has been offered a place.

What if my daughter/son fails all their GCSEs?

During Year 11, through the on line application system, your teenager will receive one or more ‘conditional offers’ from the colleges or sixth forms they apply to.  The offer will be clear about the grades and the subjects they should achieve in order to be able to start the course they have applied for the following year.  English Language is practically always required.  However, college courses are offered at different levels, so grade 3 is acceptable for entry onto level 2 vocational courses, and a mixture of grade 2 and 3 is acceptable for entry onto level 1 vocational courses.  Grade 4 and above is required to progress onto level 3 vocational courses, and at some schools and colleges, a grade 5 may be required in English and Maths to progress to A level courses, often with a higher grade such as a 6 being required in the subject they wish to study at A level.  If your teenager does not reach the required grades/subjects for the course for which they are holding an offer, the college will offer them a place on the lower level course for one year, while they continue to study to achieve English and/or Maths at GCSE level if they have not already achieved this at 4 or above.  The exception is A level study and if your teenager does not meet the conditional offer for A levels, they will need to look at an alternative course.  If this happens, make sure they get help from their school on GCSE results day to talk to the careers adviser.