Welcome parents and carers!

Take Your Place understands the importance of wanting what’s best for your young person. You’re an integral part of their learning and future, and we can help you get up to speed on the world of further and higher education.

We work in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, supporting young people to understand and explore all the options available to them after school or college.

We offer free and impartial information, guidance and practical advice for parents and carers. We want to ensure you feel confident to have informed conversations with your young person, and support them to find their future.

Download the guide

Scroll to learn more

Watch the video


Young people are asked to make important decisions during their education with major milestones at 14, 16 and 18.

It can feel that these choices are critical and that getting them right or wrong will define their future.

It’s important that we help young people to see the bigger picture in a way that isn’t too overwhelming or scary. When thinking about making these choices we can encourage our young people to consider certain questions and scenarios.

Download the guide

Opportunities at 14


Most students will be asked to choose which subjects they would like to study at GCSEs level. Subjects like maths, English, and science are usually compulsory, and schools might have other compulsory subjects (e.g. a language).

It's important for students to choose subjects they enjoy, and expect to do well in, rather than asking them to choose based on what they might want to do in the future. They're very unlikely to limit themselves by picking the 'wrong' GCSE, and doing well in their GCSEs will open up more options for them in the future.

Other Level 2 Qualifications

Some schools may also offer different qualifications to be taken at 16. These include BTECs, which often focus on more vocational subjects, teaching the skills and knowledge necessary to progress into certain jobs and sectors.

Exploring post-16 and post-18 options and careers

Whilst it's important for students to choose subjects they enjoy and expect to do well in, this can also be a good opportunity to start thinking about what they might want to do after they finish school. As a parent or carer, your knowledge of these options will be important in keeping their minds open to different possibilities.

It's also worth bearing in mind that some universities and courses look at GCSE results when determining applications, in particular Oxford and Cambridge, and many Medicine schools. This makes it all the more important that your young person chooses options at 14 that they are confident they can do well in, and also that they receive appropriate support from you as their parent or carer.

Opportunities at 16


A'levels are a natural progression route for a lot of young people. These can often be studied in the sixth form of the school where they already study meaning they don't have to worry about getting used to a new environment.

If your child enjoys studying in school and has the potential to achieve good grades at GCSE then this could be a good option.

A'levels are the traditional route to university and allow a young person to continue studying subjects they enjoy.

How to apply


Vocational courses are often studied at a further education college although some schools may also offer vocational courses. Vocational qualifications are work related and often work based ways of studying for a qualification that proves you have the skills and knowledge required for a particular industry.

If your young person has a good idea what industry or sector they want to work in and enjoy learning in a practical and 'hands on' way then a vocational course could be a great option for them.

Vocational qualifications can be studied from entry level all the way up to Level 5 which is equivalent to the first two years of a Degree qualification.

A vocational qualification can lead to a full degree.

See pathways

Work-based Learning

Work based learning is usually through an Apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a job where the young person will also study for a recognised qualification.

There are different levels of Apprenticeship and it is possible for a young person to start an apprenticeship at 16 studying a Level 2 or 3 qualification.

There may be options for the young person to continue studying as an apprentice all the way up to degree level. If your young person is keen to get out in to the world of work and is motivated to study in their own time then an apprenticeship could be a great option for them.

See apprenticeships

Opportunities at 18

University/ Bachelor's Degree

Watch the video

An academic course that's usually studied at a higher education institution. Learn through lectures, seminars, group projects and independent study. There's funding available to support you and you can study full or part- time.

  • Location: At a university, college or online. You could go away to study, stay local or go abroad.
  • Duration: 3 to 4 years.
  • Entry requirements: Universities set their own entry requirements. You'll usually need A Levels or equivalent qualifications.

Your young person can choose to do an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) alongside their A-Levels or other Level 3 qualifications. This can be worth half an A-Level and can help them develop key reflective, critical and problem-solving skills for their studies at university. An A* at EPQ is worth 28 UCAS points, an A 24, B 20, C 16, D 12 and an E 8 points.


Watch the video

Intermediate, advanced higher and degree apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job skills training with off-the-job learning. You'll get training that is relevant to your job and be paid a salary. Start at a level to suit you, with support if you have special needs or a disability.

  • Duration: Intermediate – Level 2 (12-18 months), Advanced - Level 3 (24 months approx.), Higher Level - Level 4 or 5 (Up to 5 years), Degree - Level 6 (3-6 years).
  • Location: Typically you’ll spend 80% of your time in the workplace and 20% off-the-job with some study in a college, training centre or Institute of Technology (IoT). However this can differ between apprenticeships.
  • Entry requirements: Will be dependent on the industry, job role and apprenticeship level.

Degree Apprenticeship

Degree apprenticeships are a new type of programme offered by some universities. Students can achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree as part of their apprenticeship.

These programmes are being developed by employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership.

Degree apprenticeships combine working with studying part-time at a university. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme, and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer. This can be on a day-to-day basis or in blocks of time, depending on the programme and requirements of the employer.

They can take between three to six years to complete, depending on the course level.

What role do you play in our young person's learning and education?

There's plenty of research out there that shows how important the role of parents and carers are in a young person's learning and development. At home support can help boost confidence, embed learning, raise self-esteem and encourage young people to aim high in life.

We want you to feel confident in your role, and understand how you can support your young person at each step of their education.

We've worked with parents and carers who have been through the journey, to offer you useful information, insight and practical tips.

Download the guide

Watch the video

Explore what your role in your young person's future could be

As a parent or carer you have an important role to play in supporting your young person in their learning, education and when making decisions about their future.

We asked our Parent and Carer Ambassadors how they would describe their role when supporting their young people. How many of these roles do you identify with?

Taxi service. Researcher. Coach. Advocate. Administrator. Tutor. Proof-reader. Nutritional adviser. Social secretary. Travel agent. Life skills teacher. Careers adviser. Networker. Listener. Sounding board. Comforter. Guide. Independence promoter.

All these roles allow you to support your young person to take control of their own learning, education, and future. You’re there to help them to understand the big things and the little things, encouraging them to take control of things they can control, and try not to worry about the things they can't.

We understand that parents and carers need support and information to help you guide your young person to make informed decisions about their education. It’s important you find your own support and information networks, as you’ll need them just as much as your young people do. These networks can be online or in-person, just as long as you feel confident and comfortable to help your young person at every step. We’ve collated trustworthy and useful resources, information, and guidance together in one place for you to explore and discover your role in helping your young person to find their future.

Click on each role below for more information

Thank you to our neaco Parent and Carer Ambassadors, Sharn, Kevin, Rachel and Vanessa, for helping us to create this advice and support for parents and carers.

Student Finance for Parents

As a parent, it's important to know about how the finance system at university works. This is both because finance and cost can be a big worry for potential students, but also because you will likely have an active role to play in it.

The important key message for your young person is that money shouldn't be a barrier for anyone wanting to go to university. The way the student loan system is set up is designed to always be affordable, and not affect their futures in a negative way. This is achieved by basing repayments on earnings, rather than what is owed. No repayments are owed when earning under a certain threshold, and only a small percentage of earnings is paid back over that threshold. The debt is also invisible, so it won't affect credit ratings or the ability to get a mortgage.

Student loans come in two forms - tuition fee loans, and maintenance loans. Tuition fee loans cover the cost of the university course, and maintenance loans go towards living costs. The amount of maintenance loan students get is dependent on their household income, which most commonly means parental income. That's where you come in, as you will have to provide income details during the student finance application process.

Universities also offer scholarships and bursaries, and there are various other funds which can be accessed based on individual circumstances. Knowing what your young person is entitled to is important, as it's not always obvious, and they want to be accessing all the funding available to them.

Visit Student Finance England Download the guide

Watch the video

Tuition fee loan

For UK students a tuition fee loan covers the full cost of tuition and goes straight to the university so your child will never see the money. Universities and colleges can charge a full-time student up to £9,250* a year for courses.

*Figures correct for the 2022 academic year.

Maintenance loan

Students can apply for a maintenance loan to help with living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, going out etc. The amount your child can borrow depends on where they will be studying and your family’s household income.

This means children from lower income families receive more financial support. Student Finance will let your child know how much they can borrow once their application is complete.

This is calculated on the household income and the amount each student will get is different.

Additional support

On top of student loans, your child might be able to claim extra financial help through a scholarship or bursary, a fee waiver or hardship funds. These are awarded on merit and some are based on household income.

Additional support is also available for children with a disability and if you are studying a particular type of course (e.g. medicine and dentistry). Your child should apply with their preferred university or college as it may be a factor in choosing where your child goes.

benefits of going to university or college

Carer options

A university degree is essential for some professions e.g. doctor, forensic scientist, teacher

Many jobs only recruit people with higher level qualifications, although they may not require a particular subject

Earn more

Having a degree makes your child more attractive to employers, they'll have a greater choice of jobs and earn more.

The average salary for graduates is 30% higher than for non-graduates aged 25-30.

carer ready

At university or college your child will develop essential skills they'll need in their career and working life such as communication, organisation, time management, team work, leadership and problem solving.

Great time

They'll be expected to work hard but university can also be fun. They can choose from a huge range of clubs and societies and there's a diverse social life.


Discover our range of free parent resources for information and advice on applications, course requirements and different pathways available to you.

Parent and Carer HE Open Day

Higher Education Virtual Open Day

A selection of short, bitesize videos to give you the low-down on the world of higher education.

Parent and Carer Ambassador Questions

Parent and Carer Ambassador Questions

Our Parent and Carer Ambassadors share their experiences and advice for supporting their young people into Higher Education.

  • Resource Pack
Parent and Carers Guide to Apprenticeships

Parent and Carers Guide to Apprenticeships

This guide to apprenticeships explains what an apprenticeship is and provides top tips for those interested.

  • Resource Pack

Parents & Carers Brochure

To help you better support your young person to make an informed decision about their future, we've prepared this guide to study after school or college.

Download the guide