Is Sixth Form College classified as Higher or Further Education?

The system of education may be very confusing, and you may get confused about it. You have just completed the GCSEs, and now everyone has started talking about A-levels, sixth forms, etc. Everything is so confusing that you also do not get to understand what is the next thing to do. You may be doubtful about what are the sixth form.

The sixth form is the qualification that is considered further education. This is the one which you have to take during your years 12 and 13. It is important for you to take it if you want to take up higher studies. Further, we have discussed what is the sixth-form college.

What are sixth-form colleges?

Students in Years 12 and 13 are educated in sixth-form colleges so they can obtain the qualifications necessary to advance to the next stages of their careers. It is similar in structure to British universities, where you can study for the A-Level or a higher level. Generally, you will have to study three A-levels and you can accept more than one sixth-form offers. Previously, a small number of youngsters would have quit school at age 16. However, as of 2013, the law has changed, and you will have to continue your education until the completion of Year 13. And thus you must know what is the deadline for sixth-form colleges.

Is Sixth Form College classified as Higher or Further Education?

Sixth-form college is regarded as further education and not higher education. It will be open to students who have completed secondary school. Students who have completed their sixth-form college education have the option to continue their studies by enrolling in universities. However, you must note that your A-levels are not level 4-qualification. Now let us see what is the difference between higher and further studies.

What is the difference between further and secondary education?

Further education is any education that is taken after High school or secondary school. This means that it is not an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. It generally refers to the education taken after the age of 16. Your further education is generally free and therefore there should be no problem with money with it. You can do various courses like taking up A-levels, doing BTECs, EPQs, IB, etc in your further education.

Whereas, if we talk about higher education it is the education that we do at University. It may also involve level 4 qualifications, depending upon which you have taken. This is the education that is generally done when you are over 18. This is the education that you study in a more deep manner for a subject that you are passionate about. Although, to study higher education you will have to first go from further education. Foundation degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, levels 4-8 qualifications at FHEQs, etc are all types of higher education.

What level of education is sixth form?

When you are in your years 12 and 13, it comes under your 6th form. These are the qualifications that you take after your GCSE exams in year 11. It is the education that is generally taken by the students of age 16-19 for studying the advanced level qualifications. Qualifications such as A-levels, BTECs, EPQs, etc are all part of this type of education. You must also remember that you do not miss your sixth form so that you do not have to repeat it.

Is the sixth-form different from the sixth-form college?

Sixth forms are generally considered as a secondary school as students from it will remain in that school only and will get into the sixth form from it. It means that you will be completing your 6th form from your secondary school only. However, some students may leave their sixth form and go to another 6th from college or 6th form whatever suits them. You will have to wear a proper professional or formal dress code in your sixth form. As a student in the sixth form, you will be having more free classes and thus you should do a lot of independent studies. During your sixth form, it is important to attend it five days per week.

On the other hand, sixth-form colleges are more relaxing. There is no dress code and were free to wear whatever we want during your sixth form college. The sixth college offers a variety of courses like an apprenticeship or vocational courses. You may even find night courses during your sixth form college. If you are already working, taking night courses may help you. However, for sixth-form college, you will not need to attend five days per week as some days may be off for you. 

Is it mandatory to do higher and further education?

As already discussed, further education is not a degree and is generally the education that you will be doing after your GCSEs. This means that further education is compulsory. On the contrary, higher education refers to the education that you take at your university. It means that it is not mandatory to have higher studies. Continuing with high studies will depend on you. You can decide to stay in higher studies or start doing a job after further education. Another option for you is that you will be getting into higher studies as a part-time student. This will help you to stay in your education and do a part-time job at the same time. 

Is sixth form different from secondary education?

The sixth form is the part of further education. Secondary education is the education that you get till year 11 when you are taking GCSEs. This means that the sixth form is different from secondary education. However, the difference is not too much. In fact, your GCSEs are the foundation for the A-levels that you will be taking in your sixth form. Therefore the sixth form is generally considered as further education as it is the advanced level of secondary education.


Sixth-form colleges are considered as further education. This is because it is the advanced version of the GCSEs that you take after your year 11. Further education is considered as the A-levels, BTECs, vocational courses, etc. These are different from higher education as the higher degree is generally considered as the education that you take in university. Higher studies generally consist of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. 

William Christie