Choices for post 16 students

After Year 11, students in England have the choice of:

  • remaining in full-time education
  • starting an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spending 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

There are lots of options to choose from whether your young person is staying in education or going on to training.

There are different arrangements for students in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Schools and education settings will give young people information about their options after Year 11.

The HOPE can also talk to young people to help them decide which option is best for them. Post 16 young people can get support from The HOPE if they have an ongoing involvement with social care, or up to the age of 25 if they have an EHCP.

Who to contact:

  • Angela Ryan supports post 16 young people who have an EHCP.
  • Penny Russell supports post 16 young people who don't have an EHCP.

Find their contact details on our contact page.

Post 16 Bursary Fund

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund is money that your foster child or their education or training provider can use to pay for things like:

  • clothing, books and other equipment for their course
  • transport and lunch on days they study

The 16-19 Bursary is available to children in care and care leavers aged 16, 17 or 18 at the start of their course. The student needs to be on a full-time course (16 hours or more). Different colleges pay the bursary in different ways. The student must meet their education provider's attendance requirements to get the payment.

Your young person should apply for the bursary through their education provider. The young person's social worker or The HOPE need to provide evidence that the student is in the care of the local authority.

The fund is currently up to £1,200 per year.

Apprenticeship funding

If the young person you foster is doing an apprenticeship they will get a one-off payment of £1,000. This is paid through their training provider.

GOV.UK has information about becoming an apprentice and see Bristol City Council's apprenticeships website.

Free meals in Further Education funded institutions

Some Post 16 students are entitled to free meals.

Home to school travel

In very exceptional circumstances Post 16 students may be eligible for home to school travel support. Bristol City Council's Home to School Travel policy has a section about children in care.

There's also a pdf (109 KB)  for students who have SEND in post 16 education.

If the young person you foster is having problems in their post 16 education

If the young person you foster is having any problems, or if you have any concerns regarding any aspect of their education, you should encourage them to talk to:

  • their course tutor
  • college support workers
  • learner support services, sometimes called student well being
  • their social worker or personal adviser
  • The HOPE

If they're not comfortable talking to someone on their own, you should go with them.

If the young person you foster wants to leave their course

If the young person you foster has started a course but isn't enjoying it, talk to them about swapping to do something else rather than leaving college.

If they don't want to do that, speak to their tutor and social worker or personal adviser before you make any decisions so that the young person understands their options.

If the young person you foster is told they may be withdrawn from their course

Your young person may be told that they can't carry on with a course if:

  • they haven't attended regularly
  • they've been involved in a behavioural incident

Please contact us and the young person's social worker or personal adviser as soon as possible.

You can appeal a decision made by the college. All colleges will have a disciplinary procedure and an appeals procedure on their website.

Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings

All young people in care must have PEP meetings up to the age of 18 if they are either in education or if they're not in education, employment or training (NEET). Young people on apprenticeships do not need to have PEP meetings, but may have them if they'd like to.

When a young person turns 18 and they're in education or NEET they should continue to have PEP meetings until the end of that academic year. It's good practice for PEP meetings to continue for young people in education.

For young people in care Post 16 or care leavers who have SEND, refer to the SEND Code of Practice 0 - 25 and ensure the SEND caseworker is involved if a young person has an EHCP.

The HOPE has a post 16 PEP form, guidance and PEP descriptors.

Higher education

Young people can get support and guidance about going into higher education from:

  • their school or college
  • their training provider
  • Propel
  • UCAS
  • The HOPE, up to the age of 25, including information about courses, open days, funding, accommodation and specific support from universities
  • Bristol City Council, including financial support and support from a personal adviser (the young person's social worker or personal adviser will be able to tell you more about what's available)
  • Financial support for university or college holiday accommodation if they're studying away from home
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) continue to the age of 25. This means that there will be support available for your young person post 16. Annual Reviews will also continue. The post 16 provider will lead on meetings about the EHCP, and the HOPE may attend some of these meetings.

You must make sure the SEND caseworker knows about the young person's intention to attend a particular education setting. It's important that the SEND team consult with the post 16 provider to ensure they can meet the young person's needs.

You can find more information about SEND on Bristol's Local Offer website.


Young people in care can be very vulnerable and may need extra support to keep them safe.

Each child is individual and will have different strengths and difficulties. Being aware of the risks your foster child may face or may pose is an important part of the safeguarding process.

If you have any safeguarding concerns about your foster child, speak to your supervising social worker, the child's social worker or the child's education setting as soon as you become concerned. You should also speak to your supervising social worker if you have a safeguarding concern about any member of your family.

Education settings have a statutory duty to safeguard children and young people. Schools have a designated safeguarding lead and you should know who that person is and how to contact them.

Talk to your supervising social worker about making sure your safeguarding training is up to date.

Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership.

Child protection

Bristol City Council's child protection pages have information for a range of people including professionals.

The South West Child Protection Procedures has information on the Bristol Safeguarding Partnership.

Contact us

Call: 0117 903 6282
Write: The HOPE Virtual School (CH), PO Box 3399, Bristol, BS3 9NE

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