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When can I leave school?

This is not a rule set by the school but comes from a legal statute. If you are 16 between March 1st and September 30th you are entitled to leave school in the summer of that year (after May 31st). For those who will be 16 from October 1st – February 28th the school leaving date will be the last school day in December, therefore those pupils turning 16 in January and February can leave before their 16th birthday.  However if you have your 16th birthday in November you must remain in school until the December leaving date.

What opportunities are available to school leavers?

Pupils may decide to look for employment when they leave school and at Bo’ness Academy this is a route that around one third of our leavers have chosen in the last few years.  Some of our leavers choose to go down the path of apprenticeship although there are options for leavers to continue their education either at college or at university. These educational institutes are continually updating and changing their courses to reflect demands from employers and from learners. There are many different levels of study. This section of the site will provide a guide as to some of the options available when pupils leave school.

What is an NPA?

National Progression Awards (NPAs) are designed to help people reach their goals. NPAs assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards and are available in a variety of sectors, such as Construction and Childcare to new areas such as Digital Literacy and Social Software. NPAs are at SCQF Levels 2-6 and are successfully delivered in partnership between schools, colleges and employers. Although many schools get involved, they’re mainly used by colleges for short study programmes, such as return-to-work courses or part-time learning for those already in work.

What is an NC?

National Certificates are designed to prepare people for employment, career development or progression to more advanced study at HNC/HND level. They also aim to develop a range of transferable knowledge including Core Skills. These certificates are aimed at 16-18 year olds or adults in full-time education and are at SCQF Levels 2-6.

What is an HNC/HND?

HNCs and HNDs are designed to meet the needs of employers and are developed in partnership with colleges, universities and industry. There are HNC and HND courses in a huge range of subjects.

HNC and HND courses provide both the practical skills you need to do a job and the theory which underpins it. All the courses are made up of Higher National Units.

  • HNCs are made up of 96 SCQF credit points and usually take one year to complete.
  • HNDs are made up of 240 SCQF credit points and usually take two years to complete.
  • Some HNCs allow direct entry into the second year of a degree programme, and some HNDs allow direct entry to third year. Many professional bodies in the UK recognise the quality and value of an SQA HND qualification

How can I apply for college/uni if I don’t know my exam results?

Do not wait. Check entry qualifications for the course you are interested in. Make sure you are doing those courses and the level required for entry. Provided you are on the right track, assume you are going to get them and get the application in as soon as possible.

Are Modern Apprenticeships a good alternative to college /university?

Modern Apprenticeships offer a different way of learning that is usually on the job with many employers giving apprentices an opportunity to have a blended learning experience by also including day or block release to college or university as well ongoing training and learning. This is a good opportunity for someone who likes to learn through experience and from observing and interacting with the workforce around them.

When is the best time to apply for a modern apprenticeship?

Many firms recruit all year round but employers traditionally target school leavers from February – July.