September is here and schools are back to work. For year 11 the priority is working towards GCSE. Now is also the time to consider sixth form studies, incase a move of school is advisable. I usually discourage this unless for an educational or financial reason. Knowing teachers and supportive friendships built over several years are an unquestionable benefit of staying put.

However there are circumstances where a move may be the best option. Some schools do not have a sixth form and now is the time to research options and start the application process. For some, applying to grammar via 16+ is an option. Movement from state to independent day school or vise versa is commonplace. Considering boarding can be a way to broaden horizons, develop independence and confidence. Single sex to co-ed is often raised. In my view this should not be the sole reason for a move. The right subject choices are crucial. Not all schools offer all subjects and all combinations. Give this thought now to ensure your school accommodates your preferences.

Considering which qualifications to take is also important. Some schools offer the International Baccalaureate or Pre U as an alternative to A Levels for example. Apprenticeships or vocational qualifications might suit some. It is hard to dispute the capability of the new University Technical Colleges to prepare teenagers for employment.

Sixth form is now about so much more than qualifications. School leavers need to be equipped with evidence of employability skills through work experience, as well as the capability to problem solve and study independently, if they wish to apply to university. Researching and planning for 16+ now will avoid making last-minute, rushed decisions later.