Parents and Carers

16-18 year olds have to stay in education, employment or training. However, there are many choices still to make that can have an impact on their future. Here we’ve pulled together some advice and guidance on how you can help support your child or young person in making the right decisions for them.

Dearne Valley College Parent and Carer Guide.pdf
RNN Group Parent and Carer Information Briefing.pdf

Choosing the right organisation

Making the right choice of organisation for study is essential, you therefore need to gather as much information as possible before committing to an offer of a place.

  • Look at all the options available
  • Take your child or young person to open events at several institutions
  • Take any opportunity for taster events
  • Look online for advice and information
  • Listen to our education podcast episode for parents and carers 

Choosing the right study route


Taking A-Levels is probably the most well-known of the study routes young people have at age 16, and for many students, these courses will provide an effective route to university. Students currently take ‘AS’ Levels in year one of study, then the actual A-Level (‘A2’) papers in their second year. 

Technical courses

Our technical qualifications are taught by staff with experience and skills from industry in high-quality environments, which house industry-standard equipment. Our students have lots of contact with the ‘real world’ of employers and business through work experience, talks, visits or real-life projects. Students may undertake activities that develop skills of enterprise and entrepreneurship and take part in competitions.

Technical courses are available at different educational levels, so it is appropriate for students as they develop their skills and abilities.

Technical courses at entry, level 1 and level 2 help students develop their skills and move towards work or higher level courses.

Technical courses at ‘Level 3’ are equivalent to A-Levels; challenging, exciting, and gain entry to university. They are mostly assessed by rigorous project work throughout the year, though tests and exams are part of assessment in some qualifications. For more practical university disciplines such as media, computing, business or engineering, technical learning can be better preparation for Higher Education study.


Apprenticeships are an exciting route for many young people who want to enter work rather than go to university at 18. Most apprentices spend a day of their working week taking classes or workshops in college, or with a training provider.

When opting for an apprenticeship, parents should ensure they feel happy with the training being offered and that the employer is fully committed to the training and development of the young person.

Read more about Apprenticeships.

T Levels

From September 2023, we will also be offering T Levels in construction, digital, education and childcare and health/science. Launched by the Government in 2020, a T Level is a 2 year qualification that includes a 45 day industry placement to provide the student with an opportunity to understand what a real career feels like. They are the equivalent of 3 A-Levels in terms of UCAS points and can be used to gain entry into university. For more information, visit

Advice on applications

  1. Apply early. It will give you more time to investigate where you are applying to and make sure it is right for you.
  2. Applications can be made to several colleges and schools. Young people should apply, go to interviews and assessments and explore their options to ensure they find the right course and place of study for them.
  3. When they go for an interview, encourage them to ask questions too. For example: What will I do on the course? How is it assessed? What facilities and equipment will I use? What are the links of the tutors and the college or school with industry?
  4. If you or your child/young person have any questions, get in touch. All colleges will have staff on hand to give advice and guidance. They will be helpful and friendly.

Careers information and advice for parents and carers

Our world of work is constantly changing; we offer our learners the opportunity to engage in an innovative careers and enrichment programme which places the world of work at its heart. Our learners are offered support to make informed choices about their career. Our programme is designed to support the Gatsby Benchmarks. Our careers calendar highlights activities our learners can engage in.

Our learners are offered support to make informed choices about their career through our Careers Journey Programme

Learners can access impartial information, advice and guidance:

  • On the different pathways: higher or further education, apprenticeships, traineeships, voluntary work through talks, visits, careers fairs;
  • On the importance of developing employability skills supported through activities;
  • To search and apply for opportunities, such as, CV writing for jobs, preparing apprenticeship applications, writing their university personal statements or having a practice mock interview.

We have included some resources designed to help support the decisions and choices your children are making with their career plans.  

The National Careers Service
Provides a range of information about the skills and qualifications needed for different job roles.  They have qualified advisers available and a webchat service. Find out more here:

To find out about the range of apprenticeships and traineeships go onto the Amazing Apprenticeship website

Current live apprenticeship vacancies can be found at

Higher Education
For information about university, degrees, courses, careers and student finance go to

Contact in College
For advice in College, email the careers team 

Further information for parents/carers

Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND)

Everyone deserves a fair start in life and we are committed to giving every learner the opportunity to reach their full potential and education plays a critical role in achieving this. Find out more about how we support learners with special educational needs


We aim to provide a safe and happy environment for all learners so they can develop socially and academically. To help with this we operate a strict lanyard and learner identity system so that learners and staff are easily identifiable. We will not tolerate bullying, abuse or discrimination of any kind and will take appropriate action when it occurs.

By law we are required to promote, report and monitor equality and diversity. We welcome your support in encouraging learners to report any incidents. Progress Tutors, College Mentors and Welfare Officers are available for learners to discuss and report any concerns. These members of staff are part of the safeguarding team and ensure learners’ wellbeing is monitored as well as their academic progress.

Should your child/young person experience discrimination outside of College we can also put them in touch with organisations who can help.

For more information on how we keep our learners safe and what to do if you have concerns, visit our Safeguarding page

Maths and English

We understand the importance of maths and English skills in everyday life. As a result, we will ensure that every student achieves at least a grade C/4 in a maths and English qualification during their time at College.

Elective Home Educated (EHE)

We are also able to offer funded courses for Elective Home Educated students aged 14-16.

This includes a wide range of technical courses alongside GCSEs or Functional Skills in English and maths.