All young people can leave school at 16 if they want, but by law they must be in education or training until they are 18.

There are different ways a young person can do this, including:

  • A-level qualifications which are usually more academic and are the most common route into university. Most students study 3 or 4 A-Levels.
  • Vocational qualifications (such as BTECs) which usually include a mix of study and practical skills for a particular area of work. Most students study 1 subject.
  • Apprenticeships which allow students to work, get paid a wage and study for a qualification at the same time.


Many schools offer full time education for 16-18 year-olds, including A-Levels and some vocational courses. This is usually known as Sixth Form. However, not all secondary schools offer a Sixth Form.


There are also several colleges in Leeds, which run courses for young people, aged 16-18. This is also called Further Education.

Some of the colleges also run courses for adults who want to improve their skills, learn English or learn something new.

You can see details of the colleges below, but another good place to look at all the options and get advice is the Leeds Pathways website which is aimed at 15-24 year-olds.

Leeds Pathways

Choosing a college

Like schools, colleges are inspected by Ofsted to check for the quality of their teaching and how well the students achieve. The colleges also offer open days which allow you to visit, meet the tutors and look at the teaching facilities.

Ofsted Reports

Applying for a college place

Colleges follow the same term time as schools and most courses usually start in September. You will usually apply online, using the college website, or by requesting a paper application form. It is best to check the deadline to apply with the college, because it may be different for different courses.

The colleges also have staff who can help you decide which course to apply for, and help fill out the application form.

When you have applied, you will usually be invited to the college for an interview with the tutors.

Most courses are free of charge for 16–18 year-olds, but there may be course fees to pay for adult students, depending on your circumstances. The college staff can advise you about this.

Leeds City College

Leeds City College is the biggest college in Leeds and has several campuses in and around Leeds.

It offers many different training courses and qualifications, including A-levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships.

The college also runs classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), part-time courses for adults and has a University Centre offering Foundation Degrees (Higher Education).

0113 3861997

Leeds City College

Leeds College of Building

Leeds College of Building has 2 campuses in Leeds and offers training and qualifications in subjects related to the building industry, including apprenticeships and degrees (Higher Education).

North Street Campus, North Street, Leeds LS2 7QT
South Bank Campus, Cudbear Street, Leeds LS10 1EF (sat nav LS10 1HD)
[email protected]
0113 222 6000
Leeds College of Building

Elliott Hudson College

Elliott Hudson College is a sixth form college based in Beeston and offers A-Levels.
White Rose Office Park, Leeds LS11 0LT
[email protected]
0113 323 9777
Elliott Hudson College

Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College is a Catholic sixth form college based in North Leeds near the University of Leeds. It offers A-Levels and vocational courses.

St. Mark’s Avenue, Leeds LS2 9BL
[email protected]
0113 294 6644
Notre Dame College

Leeds Arts University

Although it is called a university, Leeds Arts University also offers courses for 16–18-year-olds in creative (art and design) subjects.

Blenheim Walk, Leeds, LS2 9AQ
0113 202 8000
Leeds Arts University

Last Updated: 28 May 2024

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