Post 16 Options for Home Educators

Post 16 options for home educators aren’t really much different from post 16 options for schooled children. The main difference is that home educators may want to continue home educating post 16 whereas schooled children are less likely to choose this. Home educated young people may also be inclined to think outside the box more than schooled children. Here is a summary of the choices.

If your young person isn’t doing GCSEs you might be interested in this article about post 16 options without GCSEs.

What the Law says about Education between 16 and 18

While the Government would like all young people to stay in education until they are 18, when the law was made in 2013, they didn’t actually include any way to enforce it. This means there are no consequences to not staying in education. The responsibility also lies with the young person rather than the parent.

The local authority do have a duty to encourage participation in education and identify those who aren’t in it. This means they may get in touch with your young person, however there are no consequences to not being in education.

The law also allows young people to work full time (20 plus hours a week) if they choose, they just need to continue some kind of part time education, which could of course be home education. For more information have a look at the Government Guidance.

Continue Home Educating

Continuing home education post 16 is a perfectly valid and legal choice. If your child was home educated before the end of compulsory school age (CSA) then you can also continue to receive child benefit for them.

Once they are over CSA, they are no longer part of the Local Authority’s remit for identifying children missing in education (CME) and so you will no longer have to provide them with information to demonstrate that you are providing a full time education.

Your post 16 home education can look however you want. If you have been taking a less structured approach you can just carry on if that’s what suits your young person.

Some young people who haven’t already taken them choose to work towards some GCSEs. There is no age limit for getting GCSEs and over 16s can take them as private candidates in the same way home educated young people under 16 do.

Young people might also choose to work towards alternative qualifications at a similar level to GCSEs.

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A-Levels While Home Educating

A-Levels are another option for post 16 home education. A-Levels are generally more expensive than GCSEs for home educators. This is particularly the case for subjects with practicals as, while these are sometimes optional, they are often needed for the A-Level to be accepted by universities.

There are less course providers for A-Levels than GCSEs but they do exist. You may also find it more difficult to find an exam centre so you might need to travel further.

The following online schools offer A-Levels/International A-Levels:

Alternatives to A-Levels that can be Done at Home

There are a small number alternatives qualifications that offer some UCAS points (what you need to apply for university) but can be done from home. The ones I am aware of are:

While you could gather quite a few UCAS points from these courses, bear in mind that Universities will vary in their attitude to these alternative qualifications so you should do your research before committing.

Access courses are another alternative you could consider, however many won’t accept under 19s and some universities won’t accept them for entry from under 19s. You’ll also want to make sure the course you choose is Accredited by QAA.

Attend a 6th Form

There are two types of 6th Forms, 6th Forms that are part of a school, and 6th Form Colleges which aren’t attached to a school. Both primarily offer A-Levels and some will offer a few Level 3 BTECs as well.

6th Forms attached to schools are usually less flexible on their entry requirements. Over recent years more have been asking for a higher number of GCSEs, with some requiring 8 as their minimum. While rules vary, most don’t require young people to wear uniform but there is usually a dress code, for example, business wear. Students are often required to stay on site for the full school day and study in the library/common room when not in classes.

6th Form Colleges tend to be a bit more flexible around entry requirements but will usually still expect to see at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4. 6th Form Colleges don’t usually have uniforms and dress codes are often a bit more relaxed. Students are usually allowed off site when they aren’t in classes.

For both types of 6th form, if grade 4 or above hasn’t been achieved in Maths and English, it will need to be studied alongside the course.

Attend College

College courses have much more flexible entry requirements because if a young person doesn’t meet the requirements for a level 3 course (the equivalent of A-Levels) they can start at a lower level. Level 2 is equivalent of GCSEs at grades 9-4 and Level 1 is equivalent to GCSEs at grades 3-1.

Level 3 courses usually require 4/5 GCSEs at 9-4. Level 2 course requirements vary more but often ask for 3 GCSEs at 3 or above. Level 1 courses often have no set entry requirements and learners are accepted via interview. Some colleges will have more wiggle room around requirements and some will have less, so it’s always worth asking.

Whatever course your young person chooses at college, if they don’t already have Maths and English I/GCSEs at 4 or above they’ll need to study those alongside the course, usually working towards either GCSE or a Functional Skills qualification.

Colleges offer a wide variety of courses, most don’t offer A-levels although there are a few that do in areas where 6th forms are few and far between. Courses at college will usually be of a more practical nature, often related to a specific type of employment. Most of the courses that are offered at Level 3 will carry UCAS points and be accepted for entry to university.


An apprenticeship involves working in a job and doing a related qualification alongside it. Apprentices also get a small wage.

In some cases the young person attends a college for the related qualification and in others it’s delivered in house. Apprentices who don’t have Maths and English I/GCSE at 4 or above will need to work towards a Maths and English qualification alongside it, usually either GCSEs or Functional Skills.

Entry requirements for apprenticeships are set by either the employer or the college offering the course. The qualification can be at different levels so the entry requirements tend to reflect the level of the course. Apprenticeships in popular jobs will usually have higher requirements than apprenticeships in industries that struggle to recruit.

Apprenticeships are advertised on job sites and on company’s own websites. Some colleges offer support to find an apprenticeship.

Get a Job

Young people can absolutely get a full time job at 16 if that’s what they want. In theory they should still be studying part time, but in practice there is no way to enforce that.

Some employers might ask young people how they plan to meet the requirement for education but they can simply state that they are continuing to home educate alongside the job.

The Open University

The Open University accepts applications from 16 year olds and doesn’t have any entry requirements. While this maybe worth exploring, fees are significant so it might not be an option.

Start a Business

If your young person is entrepreneurial then they could consider starting their own business at 16.

They can earn up to £1000 a year from a business before they need to register with HMRC so they can see if they like it before having to go through the process of registering as self employed.

The Prince’s Trust offers support to young people who want to start a business. If you’re looking for inspiration you can have a look at these teen business ideas.


There will be some limitations on the opportunities because of their age (some organisation require volunteers to be 18) however there will be more opportunities than there are for under 16s.

Volunteering can be a great way to build confidence and get some experience to help them get a job. I volunteered in a charity shop which then helped me to get a paid job.

You can use the Get Volunteering website to find opportunities in your local area, most areas also have a local volunteering agency. There are some volunteering opportunities that can be done remotely which might suit young people who struggle with social situations.

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