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Applying for College

The law requires all young people in England to continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. After students leave school, they can go on to college, sixth form college or undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship. If students remain in full-time education, they can choose to study A-Levels, a T-Level, or vocational qualifications (and sometimes a combination). Please see a summary of the qualifications you can choose from:


  • 2-years
  • 3 subjects
  • Mainly theoretical and classroom-based
  • The traditional pathway to university
  • Mostly exam-assessed
  • Level of study: 3
  • GCSEs required: Generally, an average grade 5 or above is required however some A-Levels (including languages and some STEM subjects) will require higher GCSE grades


  • 2 years
  • 1 subject
  • Classroom based plus a 45 day placement (longer for Education and Childcare)
  • A pathway to skilled employment (but can also lead to further study, T-levels attract UCAS points)
  • Assessed through exams, projects, and practical assignments
  • Level of study: 3
  • GCSEs required, Generally an average grade 4 or above, including English and maths

Vocational Qualifications

  • 1-2 years year (most level 3 BTECs are 2 years long)
  • 1 subject (although level 3 BTECs can be combined with A-Levels at some colleges)
  • Significant practical work supported by classroom learning
  • A pathway to further study or into an apprenticeship/employment
  • Assessed through coursework, skills tests, and exams
  • Level of study: 1, 2 and 3
  • GCSEs required: Depends on the level of study and the course - please refer to the college websites for further guidance

If students do not achieve a grade 4 in English and Maths, they will need to retake these no matter what type of qualification they have chosen.

Please find below a list of the local colleges and sixth forms you could go onto after you leave Tanbridge House School

Year 11 students are required to make their applications to college by December (end of term). These can be carried out at home or in school, depending on the circumstances of the student. If students do wish to apply in school, please email Mrs Coomber in the Careers department: ecoomber@ths.uk.net

Please note that all applications are made online, via the college/sixth form website (via the admissions section or via the individual course pages). Please ensure that even if you plan to apply for an apprenticeship, you will still need to apply for a college place as apprenticeships are highly competitive and are not guaranteed.

Once you have completed your college application, please ensure you fill out your Post-16 Intentions tool in Unifrog: https://www.unifrog.org/student/intention-16/pathways

College/6th Form - Support with Costs

Bursary Funding 

As your child will be starting a new education or training pathway from September, you may have concerns about the cost of travel, books, equipment, etc.

If this is the case, you may wish to look into the possibility of discretionary bursary funding to help with this.

The process of applying for a bursary is to go to the website of the college/6th form your child is planning on going to and completing an online application form. Below are links to the financial support pages of the local colleges and sixth forms where you can find the bursary funding application forms and further information:

For more information about bursary funding, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund

Train travel discounts

If your child will be travelling to college/6th form by train, please be aware that a 16-17 saver railcard can give them 50% off the cost of travel https://www.railcard.co.uk/travel-inspiration/maketracks/introducing-the-16-17-saver/ and a 16-25 railcard will give them a third off the travel cost so they may wish to think about applying for this: https://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/

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