All you need to know about Year 11!

10th April 2018

The purpose of this blog is to give parents some useful advice and tips to keep in mind for when your son or daughter starts to make their choices and begins to send off their application forms.

For those who have children that have just entered year 11, there will be many deadlines and applications that will start to occur for their next chapter in education.

What will happen during year 11? 

For some parents they may have already been in this position before due to older siblings and therefore understand how the process works. Whereas other parents may only know some information or have a rough idea to what is instore during this academic year.

Application Process

When year 11 students apply for Further Education courses in colleges within Kent this is done either direct to the college or by using the website This website presents available courses in Kent and outside of Kent which is a great option for those who may be moving; they can still see what courses are available near their area- this website is run by UCAS, which is connected to university applications process.

Applications are usually sent by the end of December but depending on the course/subject this may differ e.g. art based subjects or apprenticeships. By the end of October your daughter or son should receive a post from KCC containing a username and password, so they are ready to log on and start discovering courses that they want to pursue. You can apply online directly to the college or by  paper.

During October time this is when schools and colleges host their opens days which are aimed at year 11 students. This is to allow them to see the facilities, discover the range of courses offered, get a feel for the environment and see if they want to take a vocational or academic pathway. It is recommended to attend as many open days as possible, even if you have checked the websites or prospectuses; it is best to see the schools and colleges in person.

Staff and students are typically there on open days to answer any of your questions and to give you a tour of the place itself. You can even prepare or keep in mind some questions that you would like to ask such as transportation, equipment purchases, application deadlines, drop-out rates, support systems and progression routes.

The interview process 

This typically starts from January onwards, starting with applications who sent theirs in the earliest and then it will continue with a waiting list. If your son and daughter knows what they wish to study then ensure that they get their application in as soon as possible. As they have a higher chance of getting in compared to someone who is on a waiting list; an early application reduces the chance of disappointment. This should definitely be the case if the course your son or daughter is applying for is highly popular, as spaces will go extremely quick due to people competing for their place.

Depending on the grades the students are predicted from their teachers this will reflect on the courses they will be able to apply for, due to there being different levels and certain grades needed each course. This information can be found out by teachers or student reports, this information is important to get as soon as possible; as you can start seeing what levels your son or daughter should be focusing on to accomplish. Some courses differ, some may require specific qualifications or experience, as every course is different- practical or exam based heavy.

Unsure of the next steps?

If your son or daughter is not sure of what they want to study, that is completely fine, it is important that you give them all the support that they need during this stressful time. Make sure that they attend career interviews or group sessions so they can find out more information about the options they could take. There should be career advisors for our son or daughter to book an appointment with, where they will give them guidance of what could be beneficial to them for their next step.

College has vocational work based learning courses and they also offer work placements for Level 3s. Also, it is important for the parents to take the time to sit down with their child to help them through the process and give them support to help them with their choice.  If your child does not have career advisors that they can talk to at school, there are helplines that provide the exact same service. For example, The National Careers Service can be accessed for free on social media and telephone that will help and support those who are unsure of what their next step is. 


If your son or daughter is interested in taking an artistic path such as Art, Photography, Media, Graphics or Illustrations. Then it is important that they put together a portfolio of their work as this is something that is required at an interview, this includes sketchbooks, final outcomes or work outside of school. Work done outside of school is something that is impressive in an interview as it shows that the student can express themselves differently compared to what is required from the brief at school.
For Performing Arts, Dance, Music or Acting, an audition piece will need to be prepared for an interview at college. Also, remember that colleges are looking for students with potential, they do not have to be polished or be the best. It is all about growing and improving as an individual, so keep that in mind when your son or daughter applies.

Financial help

There are many financial options to help those who are in different circumstances. For example, KCC offers support with travel as well as a 16-19 Bursary. There is support for young parents through the care-to-learn scheme. This is important to look into before applying as if you start in September and there is an issue, then this may not be resolved or it could take a while to be sorted. Make sure that if your child is in need of support then check before when applying and see if that it is something the college supplies.

GCSE Results day

GCSE Results day 23rd August 2018 is a frightening day that will come around quicker than you think. It is vital that your son or daughter starts preparing and applying to colleges now, as if they leave it until after Easter this can be extremely stressful; juggling revision, coursework and applications all at the same time is too much to deal with. The sooner this step is complete it will be one less thing to worry about and your child can focus on their revision for their academic year.

Results day is different for everyone some are overjoyed whereas other may be a little disappointment but there is nothing to worry about. Some may have to redo exams or some may not get their first choice. However, at the beginning of the September start there is the option for your son or daughter to switch course during the first six weeks if they are having second thoughts. If they wish to change course this is something they can inform the school or college straight away so they can be transferred as quickly as they can, so they can catch up with the rest of the class.

Other options other than full time courses?

You may be thinking that there are other options for your child to take and considering such as Traineeship, Apprenticeships or Study Programmes. These options are great for those who do not wish to continue with heavy studied based learning and want to go straight into employments or earn a qualification whilst working.


There are many types and levels when it comes to apprenticeships. Students receive training for their role as well as time to complete their qualification side of their apprenticeships. 90% of those who do an apprenticeship stay employed after their training is complete.
Traineeships are six months unpaid work experience, often leading onto apprenticeships. These can be done after GCSE’s, college or school.

For the application process for these options there are many websites which can help you for this career choice.

Study Programmes and Traineeships for Kent:
Traineeships can also be found via:

Final Thoughts

Overall, year 11 may seem overwhelming, but it is important to understand that your son or daughter may be unsure of what they want to do for their next step and that is completely fine. Regarding careers many of us figure out what profession they want to do when they are in their thirties, as a teenager and those in their twenties; this is often spent as a figuring out stage that will allow them to experiment and discover their interests and passion. Year 11 is the very beginning of their journey and the best thing to do is support them and let them know that there is no pressure on them and that they can experiment with many courses and jobs which will help them with their future.

The great thing about further education is that it is very flexible for students, as they can change courses if they are not happy with what they are doing, or they can even begin an apprenticeship if they are not enjoying their academic learning. This allows our learners to not feel trapped and they have a strong support network which will help them with any troubles that they may face. There are many options for our students and everyone learner is different and flourishes in their own way and it is important that there is something for everyone in education or employment.

We hope your son or daughter enjoys year 11 and from all of us at NKC we wish them all the best with their next step. We hope you found this blog helpful and has given you useful advice and information of what there is to come during this academic year for your child. If you have any questions or need any help then please contact us, we are more than happy to help you.

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