Advice for Parents

Making the right choice of organisation for study is critical. Whether it is to stay on at school, go to technical college or sixth form college full-time; or whether to get an Apprenticeship and learn while earning. Getting a good start on the right course is essential, otherwise vital years can be wasted.

  • 16-18s have to stay in education, but not necessary at school
  • Look at all the options available
  • Take your son or daughter to open events at several institutions
  • Take any opportunity for taster events
  • Look online for advice and information

Choices for School Leavers

The two years in education when young people are aged 16 and 17 are a vital time in their lives. Students start to specialise, the direction of future study and work becomes clearer and the school uniform is left behind as students are supported to take the first steps as adults before their independence is forged.

Due to the raising of the participation age, young people have to be in learning or work with training until they are 17, shortly to rise to 18. Also, while there are still great opportunities for learning after ages 16-18, government funding is inevitably reducing for those over 18 and, unless supported while on unemployment benefit, older students will have to pay fees or take out student loans. So it is in the interest of every young person to make the best use of their educational time when they are 16-18 and get a great start to their academic and/or working life.

Making the right choice of institution or organisation for study is critical and urgent, whether it is to go to school, technical college or sixth form college full-time; or whether to get an apprenticeship and learn while earning. Getting a good start on the right course is essential.

Young people, parents and guardians face complicated and important choices. Being informed, and considering the widest range of options is essential and every provider in the education sector should help and support you with information and guidance on the wide range of options available.

With good quality education and training behind them, there are great opportunities for young people to find their place and success in the world.

Advice on Applications

1. Apply early. It will give you more time to investigate where you are applying to, to make sure it is right for you.

2. Applications can be made to several colleges and schools: there is no problem with going to interviews at several organisations. Young people should apply, go to interviews and assessments and explore their options to ensure they find the right course and place of study for them.

3. When you go for an interview, you can ask questions too. For example: what will I do on the course? How is it assessed? What facilities and equipment will I use? What are the links of the tutors and the college or school with industry?

4. If you have any questions, get in touch. All colleges will have staff on hand to give advice and guidance. They will be helpful and friendly.

Careers Information and Advice for Parents and Carers

Our world of work is constantly changing; we offer our learners the opportunity to engage in an innovative careers and enrichment programme which places the world of work at its heart. Our learners are offered support to make informed choices about their career. Our programme is designed to support the Gatsby Benchmarks. Our careers calendar highlights activities our learners can engage in.

Students will be advised of enrichment and careers events nearer to the time. Take a look at our careers calendar.

Learners can access impartial information, advice and guidance:
  • On the importance of developing employability skills supported through activities;
  • On the different pathways: higher or further education, apprenticeships, traineeships, voluntary work through seminars, careers fairs;
  • To search and apply for opportunities, such as, CV writing for jobs, writing their university personal statements or having a practice mock interview.

Here are some information resources designed to help support the decisions and choices your children are making with their career plans.

The National Careers Service

Provides a range of information about the skills and qualifications needed for different job roles. They have qualified advisers available and a web chat service, take a look at The National Careers Service website


To find out about the range of apprenticeships and traineeships go onto the Amazing Apprenticeship website

Current live apprenticeship vacancies can be found at

Higher Education

For information about university, degrees, courses, careers and student finance visit: and

Contact in College

For advice in college email the careers team

What is a Technical Course?

Technical courses at ‘Level 3’ are equivalent to A-Levels; challenging, exciting and gains entry to university. They are mostly assessed by rigorous project work throughout the year, though tests and exams are part of assessment in some qualifications. For more practical university disciplines such as Media, Computing, Business or Engineering; technical learning can be a better preparation for Higher Education study.

Our technical qualifications are taught by staff with experience and skills from industry in high-quality environments, which house industry-standard equipment. Our students have lots of contact with the ‘real world’ of employers and business through work experience, talks, visits or real-life projects. Students may undertake activities that develop skills of enterprise and entrepreneurship and take part in competitions.

Technical courses are available at different educational levels, so it is appropriate for students as they develop their skills and abilities.

Technical courses at Entry, Level 1 and Level 2 help students develop their skills and move towards work or higher level courses.

On all courses, our course and progression tutors help students by closely monitoring their targets, progress and achievements to ensure success. A very high attendance is essential, expected and monitored closely at all times.

Levels of Study Pathways 

Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND)

Everyone deserves a fair start in life and our Colleges (Rotherham College, North Notts College and Dearne Valley College) are committed to giving every learner the opportunity to reach their full potential. Education plays a critical role in achieving this.

Image of a student talking to a member of staff


We aim to provide a safe and happy environment for all learners so they can develop socially and academically. To help with this we operate a strict lanyard and learner identity system so that learners and staff are easily identifiable. We will not tolerate bullying, abuse or discrimination of any kind and will take appropriate action when it occurs.

By law we are required to promote, report and monitor equality and diversity. We welcome your support in encouraging learners to report any incidents. Progress Tutors, College Mentors and Welfare Officers are available for learners to discuss and report any concerns. These members of staff are part of the safeguarding team and ensure learners’ wellbeing is monitored as well as their academic progress.

Should your child/young person experience discrimination outside of College we can put them in touch with organisations who can help.

We can be contacted on our confidential email address We also work with all our students to raise awareness of potential harms that could be encountered in everyday life.

To help you understand some of these this section will provide information and guidance on a range of topics both local and national.

All Change for A-Levels

Taking A-Levels is probably the most well-known of the study routes young people have at age 16, and for many students, these courses will provide an effective route to university. Students currently take ‘AS’ Levels in year one of study, then the actual A Level (‘A2’) papers in their second year. Parents and young people should be aware though of two major changes which have happened.

Previously, AS and A-Level students have been able to take their exams in both January and May/June, often taking one of the papers that make up the qualification in each ‘exam window’. This spread out the revision burden and if things didn’t go well in a paper taken in January, it could be retaken in June to improve grades. The January exams opportunity has been removed as a result of government reform. So all the exam papers have to be taken in the summer.

The second change is this. At present a student’s final A-Level grades, which determine ‘UCAS’ points and university entry, are made up of accumulated marks from both the AS and A-Level (A2) stages. For students starting their A-Level studies in autumn 2015 and thereafter, while AS levels will be retained, any marks gained will not count towards the final A-Level grade and university entry. Therefore most students will take two-year qualifications with everything depending on final exams at the end of year two.

For many young people, this will not prove a problem. However, young people and parents should at least consider how these changes might affect them and whether other qualification routes where everything doesn’t depend one sitting of exams, would suit them better.

Apprenticeships A Growing Opportunity

Both the current and previous government championed Apprenticeships as ways for young people to earn, enter the workforce and get good quality training. Most apprentices spend a day of their working week taking classes or workshops in college, or with a training provider.

The focus on Apprenticeships is going to increase further: in a recent policy paper, the government minister responsible stated he hoped that all young people would either study at university or complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are an exciting route for many young people who want to enter work rather than go to university at 18.

Amazingly, in these difficult times for the employment of young people, there are often vacancies available for which no candidates apply. There are many providers offering the courses and young people and parents should ensure they feel happy with the training being offered and that, as most are, the employers involved are fully committed to the training and development of the young person.

Maths and English

We understand the importance of maths and English skills in everyday life. As a result, we will ensure that every student achieves at least a grade C/4 in a maths and English qualification during their time at College.


Elective Home Educated (EHE)

Within our group of Colleges (Rotherham College, North Notts College and Dearne Valley College) we are able to offer funded courses for Elective Home Educated students aged 14-16. This includes a wide range of technical courses alongside GCSEs or Functional Skills in English and maths.

Our EHE programmes are usually for around 12 hours per week therefore are not designed to replace compulsory education but to supplement the education a child receives at home.


Click here to find out more


Following the recent government announcement, please click here for more information.

Eligible for 16-18 College financial support to help with travel, meals and college expenses?
Complete the 16-18 Financial Support Application Form here:


Due to the adverse weather conditions, we have taken the decision to keep all our campuses closed on Friday 15th January 2021.
Buildings will be closed and any students that were supposed to be on site will be contacted.