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Further Education System


Study UK - Further Education

When students reach the age of 16 and have completed their GCSEs they have a few options to choose from:

If students opt for carrying on with their education this will take two forms, either by pursuing further academic qualifications or by following a vocational pathway.

Academic Qualifications

Most schools in the UK have what is called a "6th Form" for students to enter after they have taken their GCSEs. As an alternative, there are many "6th Form Colleges" that will offer the same courses from students at schools that do not have a 6th form. Here students typically study A-levels, further academic qualifications required of students before they enter higher education and a degree program.

A-levels, like GCSEs, follow a two-year program and there are two components to them: full A-levels and half AS-levels. Generally A-levels comprise of 6 modules, and an AS-level has 3 modules.

Students will generally take between two to three A-levels, but depending on your academic ability and drive you may take more. Students at independent schools may take anywhere up to 5 A-levels.

Vocational Qualifications

For students who are not so academically minded, they still have the option to further their education by studying a vocational course that will provide them with a more hands on experience and education.

The most popular vocation programs include:

Most international students coming into the UK will be taking academic programs with the aim of gaining admittance to a degree program. If you are one of those students, visit the UK Higher Education System page.


Please note that Scotland has a separate education system and does not conform to the above structure. Please learn more about the Scottish Education System.

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