School Leavers Survival Guide 2020

Leaving school can be worrying and confusing at the best of times, but this year, you might feel more worrying and confusing because of the impact of Covid-19…

This survival guide is packed with information about where to get help and what to do next – whether you’ve already applied for a place in college, sixth form or training provider or not!

  • Section 1 – Where can you get help and advice from?

  • Section 2 – Frequently asked questions

  • Section 3 – Local provider websites

Where can you get help and advice from?

Section 1


Just because you are no longer in school, doesn’t mean that you can’t access help from there.  In fact, your school and the careers team are the first place for you to contact for any help that you need as you leave Year 11 and move into further learning or training.  The staff at your school are available to support you with any questions or concerns about moving onto college, sixth form or an apprenticeship.

If you’re not sure who to contact, your school’s Careers Leader will be listed on their website.


The I Know I Can Team will be available for you to talk to, as will your school’s Careers Team, when you get your GCSE Results on 20th August. Follow us on Twitter – @IKICbarnsley – for more updates.   If you want to think about your next steps after Year 11 and beyond, you can also use the IKIC website  to access these useful tools:


A web-based programme that helps you look at different careers, what you can earn and what skills you might need. It also has information on the different pathways you can take:  

National Careers Service

Information advice and guidance to help young people make decisions:


Find out about some of the different options post-16:


Find out what apprenticeships, traineeships or supported internships are available near you:

Frequently Asked Questions

Section 2

Yes! If you’ve already applied, you will be offered a confirmed place, subject to the usual entry requirements, so don’t worry! If the college, sixth form or training provider hasn’t already been in touch about your offer and what you need to do next or you are worried and just want some re-assurance, you can:

  • contact your careers adviser in school
  • check out the website of the college, sixth form or training provider to find out about arrangements and next steps (see the last section, which has a list of providers)
  • or give the college, sixth form or training provider a ring

Yes! Don’t worry – it’s not too late to apply! Colleges, sixth forms and training providers are still taking applications. You can apply online and any interviews will be held by telephone or virtually. Check out the providers below and click on the links to apply today. Remember if you need any help filling in the application form, contact your school’s careers team. You can also get some information about different pathways via this video:

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Unfortunately, colleges, sixth forms and training providers aren’t offering ‘actual’ tasters BUT many are offering you the opportunity of ‘virtual’ taster days. Check out their website for more details.

You won’t be able to physically go and have a look round BUT many providers have put a virtual tour on their website to give you an idea about what it’s like. Have a look at their website.

While some employers may still take you on, many more may no longer be able to and may have placed any apprenticeship vacancies on hold until after the Covid-19 crisis. If you’ve applied and been offered a place, get in touch with the employer to check that nothing has changed and to find out if you can still start. You should also think about a back-up plan too. Check out the list of providers below and apply for a back-up plan today!

Although all GCSE exams were cancelled this year, you will get a ‘calculated grade’ for each of your subjects. This grade will take account of any mock exams, coursework and non-exam assessment. AND there will still be a GCSE Results day – it’s on the 20th August. Look at your school website to check out arrangements for getting your GCSEs – your GCSE results day may look a little different this year, but it is still an important day for you.

Yes. These are formal grades with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. They will be accepted by all institutions.

All exam boards are working hard to make sure grades awarded are fair and recognise the work you have put in. BUT if you are not happy with the grade you have been awarded, you may be offered the opportunity to sit the exam at a later date.

Unfortunately, NCS is not going ahead this summer due to the ongoing situation. However, they are offering young people an alternative programme free of charge. If you had already applied, please check your emails for an update from NCS regarding refunds and the alternative programme. If you hadn’t applied yet, here is the link for more information:

Enrolment is when you register to be on your course and part of the college, sixth form or training provider. Usually this would take place in the provider’s building, but this year it is unlikely that you will be able to physically go and enrol, so it is likely that this year, enrolment will be done online. The provider should be in touch with you and their website should have more information the closer it gets to September.

Local Provider Website

Section 3

Check out these websites to apply or for updates about courses, start dates, virtual tours!

AMRC Advanced Manufacturing
Babington Business College
Barnsley College
Barnsley Sixth Form College
Barnsley FC: Reds in the Community
Chapeltown Academy
Construction Skills Village
Dearne Valley College
Greenhead College
GTA Doncaster
High Speed Rail
Hospitality Industry Training
JTL Training
Moorland College
Leslie Frances Hairdressing
Longley Park 6th Form
Northern Racing College
Penistone Sixth Form
Pontefract New College
Reds in the Community
Rotherham College
Royal Navy
Sheffield College
Shelley College
Stubbing Court Training
Thomas Rotherham College
Trackwork Doncaster
UTC Sheffield
YH Training Services
Wath Sixth Form
White Rose Beauty College