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Making sense of study options after GCSEs

Skills Route exists to help young people make informed decisions about what to study after GCSEs so that they can set great foundations for the future. We do this by providing tailored suggestions to each young person for what to study, and where. We base these suggestions on the information that they share with us - for now it’s primarily their academic ability, their interests and their life goals. 

Anecdotally, we often hear that schools struggle to share and explain all the options to young people. There are a myriad of reasons for this - the incentives that exist to encourage students to study A levels, the complex nature of the apprenticeship application process, the constantly growing list of possible qualifications not to mention the crazy levelling system (that sees GCSEs listed across two levels depending on the grade scored) to name but a few. 

Time and again teachers and careers advisers lament the complex nature of the options that are available - we hear them asking:

  • What are all the options that are available locally?
  • How and when should I share these options with students? 
  • Which options are best for which young people?
  • Should I trouble all students with all the options - or target the information?
  • Who are the different qualifications targeted towards?
  • Why should a student select an NVQ over a BTEC (or vice versa)?

In response to this challenge, we have built an interactive learning module into Skills Route PLAN. The table on the site will show the young person a simplified list of the qualifications that are available to them (like the one below) - and will highlight those that are most suited to their academic level. On the site the young person can then click through and learn about the different course types. For this blog, we’ve just included the non-interactive diagram so you can get a feel for it:

What next?

If you're thinking "that doesn't look right to me..." Please get in touch! We have used all our collective experience and knowledge to put this diagram together but we're 99% sure that it won’t work for everyone. Please get in touch if you can suggest any improvements or changes:

If you would like to experience the interactive version of this diagram, sign up to Skills Route PLAN (which will be openly available from September 2016) - email to be amongst the first people on the site!