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What should my child do next?

When students finish their time at Connell they progress to a variety of destinations.

Around 75% will opt for university. Others will choose apprenticeships or employment.


This has been seen as a traditional next step for many students and getting a degree is often a requirement for certain careers. Students will usually be at university for at least three years and will need to pay fees. They can take out a low interest rate loan to cover the costs of this and only have to repay it once they are earning above a certain amount. Those with a degree typically earn more over their lifetime than those without. So many people still feel that this option is worthwhile. Students can choose to stay at home to reduce their costs. Students who have been in the UK for less than three years when they start their course may be liable for international fees which can make university much more expensive. You will need to research carefully to see whether this will affect you.


These are ways to learn while getting paid. Some companies offer these while you earn professional qualifications and some even offer degrees. Many companies now offer apprenticeships and they should be carefully considered as a viable alternative to going to university. Those completing an apprenticeship often have a very high chance of gaining permanent employment with their apprenticeship provider. We give our students lots of opportunities to learn about this pathway and our careers team can provide lots of advice.


Some students will opt to go straight into employment. They feel ready for this part of their journey and don’t want to complete further study. Sometimes students take this option if they want to reduce the pressure on themselves during year 13. They may feel that this decision will give them more time to make a better application to university or an apprenticeship in the following year. They sometimes also feel they need the space to make a more informed choice. Where we can we will still offer help in the year after a student has left. 


We know that making the right choice can be difficult and so we offer students (and parents/carers) lots of support throughout their two years at Connell.


  • New parent information event in September (we tell you about the kinds of things students should be doing in year 12 to prepare for their next steps).
  • Information about widening access schemes run by universities and available to year 12 students who meet certain demographic or grade requirements. 
  • 121 student meetings:
    • Autumn term – to confirm course choices are right for career plans.
    • Spring term – to help students decide what they might want to do in the future/ensure they are ready to progress into year 13.
    • Summer term – on demand meetings with our careers team.
  • Information about applying to university and apprenticeships.
  • Onsite careers fair – open to parents and carers.
  • University visits
  • Employer talks
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities.
  • Mentoring
  • Support with preparing for additional assessments or interviews e.g. for medicine applicants.


  • Parent/student information event in September (we explain what an apprenticeship is, how to apply to university and provide more information about university finance).
  • 121 meeting to finalise university/apprenticeship application.
  • 121 with a careers advisor if a student is struggling to decide what to do in the future.
  • Continued support and guidance on each step of the university/apprenticeship application process.
  • Additional visits/engagement opportunities with universities and employers.