All young people have to stay in education or training until their eighteenth birthday. This is so that you develop skills and knowledge that you might need when you're older.

Choose where to study

After the age of 16 you can choose to:

Sixth form is:

  • the last 2 years at a school
  • for young people aged 16 to 18

Colleges are:

  • separate from schools
  • for young people aged 16 to 25 years old
  • able to offer you a wider range of things to study

Find out more about the different qualifications available on our Where next? webpage.

Study and train for work

Find out more about training for work.

Find a course in Dorset

Find information about sixth form schools and colleges that offer post 16 courses in Dorset

Education for young people aged 18 and over

After your eighteenth birthday you can choose to:

  • stay in education
  • join a training course
  • find a job
  • take part in other community-based activities

Stay in education

There are lots of higher education courses you can choose from. Search the UCAS website to find a course that suits you.

How to get extra help at school, college or university if you have SEND

If you have a special need or disability you may need extra help in a range of areas such as:

  • reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • expressing yourself or understanding what others are saying
  • making friends or talking to others
  • organising yourself
  • sensory or physical needs which may affect your learning
  • mental health, social or emotional difficulties

Who can help arrange support in learning

Your school, college or university will have a person whose job it is to make sure you get the support you need. They're sometimes called a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). 

If they don't know you need extra support you can speak to your parents or carers about telling them.

If you feel you need extra support and are struggling, you may need a support plan. 

If you have an education, health and care (EHC) plan your school, college or training provider will use this to make sure you're supported in your learning. Find more information about planning what you want to do if you have an EHC plan.

If you need support to tell them what type of help you need you can speak to SENDIASS, a free, impartial and confidential service

You're not in education, employment or training 

Find out how we can support you if you're not in education, at work or training for a job

Benefits you can apply for

Find out about different types of benefits you may be able to get