Education, Training, Employment & Going to University

1. Education, Training, Employment and Going to University

Part of your Pathway Plan will be all about your ambitions, whether you want to go to university or college, and what you would like to do as a career. You can change your mind at a later date if you decide you would like to go down a different route, just remember to let your social worker or PA know and they will be able to amend your Pathway Plan.

Having your plans for the future in your Pathway Plan means that we can give you the support you need to achieve your goals.

2. The Virtual School

If you are aged 16-25 and in care, or have been in care for at least thirteen weeks since the age of 14, the Virtual School can support you. The Virtual School is a group of education specialists who are there to make sure that young people in care, and who have left care, get the right support at school.

To find out more visit The Virtual School's webpage

3. Sixth form or college

You have to stay in education until you are 18, so after you have taken your GCSEs you can choose either sixth form or college.

Sixth Form

If you decide on sixth form, you have the option at staying on at your current school to take A levels. Sixth form also offers vocational skills and other qualifications. To search for a list of sixth forms and courses in Buckinghamshire, visit www.stayinlearning.org.uk/sixth-form


College offers you a slightly different environment, where you will be expected to be independent in your learning – a bit more like university. College offers a wider range of courses and will have more specialist facilities. To search for a list of colleges in the Buckinghamshire area, visit www.stayinlearning.org.uk/college

4. Going to University

Many of the care leavers in Buckinghamshire have gone on to study at university and gain degrees in all sorts of subjects, and we are really proud of the achievements they have made. If you would like to go to university you will need to do the following:

  • Before anything else apply for a place through UCAS. The UCAS website is also full of really useful information for students
  • Research what different universities have to offer. University websites should contain information on their student life, accommodation, and sometimes they offer extra support for young people who have left care, such as extra bursaries
  • Open a student bank account. These accounts often have benefits such as interest-free overdrafts
  • Apply online for your Tuition Fees Loan and Maintenance Loan. You can apply for both of these by visiting GOV.UK - Student Finance 
  • Discuss your plans early with your PA and find out how they can support you.

5. Not going to University?

Lots of young people feel that university is not right for them, so don't worry if you are the same. There are other options for you to think about, including apprenticeships and employment.


Apprenticeships are paid jobs where you get to learn a vocational skill. There are a wide range of different jobs you could apprentice for, including plumbing, hairdressing, engineering, digital media and accountancy. To look for apprenticeship opportunities visit www.stayinlearning.org.uk/apprenticeship.


If you would like to get straight into work a good place is start is contacting Connexions www.connexionsbucks.org.uk where you can get in touch with a careers adviser who can talk to you about what you would like to do and give you some practical advice on things like writing a CV and applying for jobs.