Help with Making Decisions

Designing your life path doesn’t need to b e daunting. Knowing what’s on offer and where to get information is important so you don’t miss out

So whether you want to study, work or combine the two, you can use the following information as a helpful starting point.



Even though you will have to stay in education or some form of training until you are 18, there are many options open to you

Following your GCSE’s you can choose from the following routes

A Levels – Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A levels over two years. They’re usually assessed by a series of examinations.

BTEC – With their focus on practical, skills-based learning, BTEC courses are designed around a number of themed units.  Rather than testing everything together at the end of the course, BTECs give students the opportunity to show what they’ve learned in each unit, and build on their achievements as they progress through the course. That means there are plenty of chances to learn, improve and succeed.

Some BTECs are assessed completely through assignments, while the newer BTEC courses can include some units which are assessed through set tasks or tests. You’ll get a grade for each unit – Pass, Merit or Distinction – so you can see how you’re progressing throughout the course.

T Levels – T Levels are new courses that were introduced in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to 3 A levels. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.

T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

There are 15 pathways planned not all of them are available at the moment

When do you have to make decisions? 

In Year 7 and 8 – You will have the opportunity to try out a variety of the Design option subjects. Usually by March you will be selecting which subjects you would like to do for GCSE’s, English, Maths, Science, Core PE and Languages (for most students) will remain as part of your curriculum.

There will be events in school to help you decide which subjects, so don’t worry at this stage

In Year 9 – Some of you may opt for a more practical, vocational or technical path at UTC (Universal Technical College) Portsmouth, if accepted you would start your course at the beginning of Year 10

In Year 10 – you will have the opportunity to complete two weeks of work experience, if you have an idea of a future career pathway you may be able to secure a placement in this, however, please be aware that due to your age there is safe guarding to be consider. Start thinking about possible careers that might interest you. Use the information on the Careers and Colleges web page to help you

In Year 11 – This is when you get to have a say and make decisions about your future, starting with which route you want to take, College, Apprenticeship or Traineeship. Remember Year 11 is a busy year for you. We recommend that everyone applies to college even if considering an apprenticeship as these tend to be offered later in the academic year though there are some exceptions


Understanding Qualifications


Support and advice is available in school, you can see Mrs Etherington who is based in the Information Centre [email protected] or our independent/impartial advisor Ms Hynes (only on Thursday) [email protected] 1:1 meetings with Berni will take place via Zoom until further notice, these can be arrange by clicking on the Book a Careers interview link on the home page