Information about your post 16 choices, extra funding you can get to help you stay in education or training, and how to find out about higher education.

Your post 16 choices

You have to stay in some form of learning until you're 18 years old.

If you're in England, after Year 11 you can:

  • stay in full time education, like school, college or home education
  • do work-based learning, like an apprenticeship
  • do full time work alongside part time learning that leads to an accredited qualification
  • volunteer for at least 20 hours each week and do this alongside part time learning that leads to an accredited qualification
  • be self-employed, and do this alongside part time learning that leads to an accredited qualification

It's up to you to make sure you stay in some form of learning until you're 18. You have to make your own decisions about how you want to do this.

There are different arrangements Go to (opens new window) for students in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What to do if you're having problems on your course

If you're having any problems with your course, talk to:

  • your course tutor
  • college support workers
  • learner support services, sometimes called student wellbeing
  • your social worker or personal adviser
  • your HOPE education advocate

If you've started a course but you're not enjoying it, think about swapping to do something else rather than leaving college.

Speak to your tutor and social worker or personal adviser before you make any decisions so that you understand your options.


16 to 19 Bursary Fund

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund Go to (opens new window) is money available to young people in care and care leavers aged 16, 17 or 18 at the start of your course.

You must be on a full time course (16 hours or more each week). Different colleges pay the bursary in different ways. You must meet your education provider's attendance requirements to get the payment.

The money can be used to pay for things like:

  • clothes, books and other equipment for your course
  • transport and lunch on days you study

You should apply for the bursary through your education provider. Your social worker, personal adviser or The HOPE need to give evidence that you're in the care of the local authority.

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

Apprenticeship funding

If you're doing an apprenticeship you'll get a one-off payment of £1,000. Your training provider pays this to you.

GOV.UK has information about becoming an apprentice Go to (opens new window).

Free meals

Some post 16 students can get free meals. Talk to your college to see if you can get this.

Higher education

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

  • your school or college
  • your 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 (your social worker or personal adviser will be able to tell you more about what's available)

If you apply for a course on UCAS, there's a box on the form to say that you've spent time in care. We encourage you to tick that box. It will give you access to the support the college or university you're applying to offers young people who've been in care.

Contact us

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

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