Pre-16 Programme

Pre-16 is a very popular program so early application is essential. Please be aware that our Pre-16 programme is now full with an active waiting list.

“The key to our Pre-16 learners’ success is the delivery of an exceptional student experience across all aspects of teaching, learning, social and community life. I am delighted to welcome students at 14 and support them in undertaking courses”

Carla Sweeney, Pre-16 Co-ordinator

Who is Pre-16 for?

Our Pre-16 Programme, based at Queens Drive, is for home-educated 14-16 year olds who will attend College to enhance their learning. The Government will pay for the course(s). These students can do any course agreed by the College.

There are a number of myths around Pre-16 provision and how it can be accessed; our Pre-16 Myth buster provides more details.

Our bespoke educational packages are popular, positive and effective with students – reflecting their preference for study within a mature learning environment.

All programmes include Maths and English GCSE or equivalents unless the student has already obtained a Grade 4/C or above at GCSE in each subject. Exceptions are made if the student is studying these subjects at home or with another provider. However, we must ask for proof of this in order to support the current Government's expectations.

As the parent retains responsibility for the child, we do not legally have to make special arrangements for pastoral care or offer a full curriculum. However, we provide a strong level of pastoral support and our elective home-educated students are part of specific Pre-16 tutor groups. These tutor groups have a bespoke schedule, which takes into account the student’s backgrounds and is student led.

Why Come to New College?

We teach bespoke and flexible programmes to help schools provide a wider range of courses to pupils as well as meet the needs of individuals.

Whether you are interested in a part-time or larger programme, we offer:

  • The facilities/expertise to deliver qualifications across a range of subjects
  • An opportunity to learn in an educational environment different to school
  • The chance to benefit from different teaching and learning styles
  • A range of vocational/applied learning courses alongside GCSEs
  • Strong pastoral care and student support

Feedback from one of our students advocates for Mental Health Support at New College Swindon

"I believe New College Swindon Pre-16 has some of the best student support for mental health and great enrichment and staff"

Students are able to participate in offsite trips and onsite activities such as seasonal parties, subject-themed days, subject-based trips (residential are offered on some courses), weekly enrichment time and the Pre-16 Prom. We recognise the importance of supporting Young Carers and have a weekly group which offers the opportunity to work towards AQA Units, socialise with others and arrange local trips - this is led by our young people so they are at the centre of this process.

Courses Available

All Level 2 courses at Queens Drive that are available to our 16-18 students are available to Pre-16 students as long as they meet the entry requirements.

Pre-16 enrichment

Pre-16 students are invited to attend Pre-16 specific enrichment to support their social and emotional development and provide opportunities to learn new skills as well as to form friendships.

Knit and Natter - with no prior experience needed our young people have time to enjoy chatting whilst trying to "cast off" - the target being to make a new coat for Dibbles the Pre-16 tortoise!

Safer Streets - a girls group run by Barnardo's is hosted at New College Swindon and a running 6 week programme is offered to small groups. Focusing on staying safe, healthy relationships and consent

Who Are You - working in partnership with Thrive Through Venture we have a yearly schedule in which our young people can join in the programme and participate in drumming workshops, learn photography skills and explore portraiture whilst developing self esteem, confidence and resilience

Enrichment Centre - we have the NCS Enrichment centre every Thursday just for Pre-16 students. Pool tables, table tennis, gaming and board games are available with Pre-16 staff joining in and supporting/facilitating this social time.

Young Carers - A weekly time dedicated to those Young Carers who wish to engage in social activities.

College wide enrichment are also available to Pre16s including the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Pre-16 Carousels

To support the local schools, we have devised 3 carousel opportunities; each term a group of school-funded students attend one morning a week to focus on learning skills in the following areas:

  • Mechanics/ Brickwork/ Plumbing/ Plastering/ Household Maintenance
  • Textiles/ Fabric Printing/ Photography/ Film Making/ Multi-media
  • Sports/ Public Services/ Team Building/ Sports/ Outward Bounds

These carousels are devised with the partner school to meet the needs and interests of the group attending.

Pre-16 Myth Buster

Can I withdraw my child from school so that they can join Pre-16?

FALSE - this is not what Pre-16 is here for. You might withdraw your child from school in order to home educate, and then apply for a place on Pre-16 to complement the home education you will be providing. We offer a limited number of Pre-16 places a year and acceptance is subject to the availability of places, suitability for your child to achieve in the College environment and whether we are able to support your child's needs effectively.

My child is unhappy at school so do they need to come to Pre-16?

FALSE - In this scenario, it is vital that you speak to the school and discuss the full situation. They may be able to explore a managed move/additional support/reduced timetable or any number of strategies to enable your child to once again thrive in school and be able to complete their GCSEs. If none of these are successful then the conversation may lead to exploring Alternative Provision such as our Pre-16 Programme. At this point the school would need to contact the Pre-16 team and make an application.

Is Pre-16 too expensive?

FALSE - Pre-16 costs schools £4,500 per year, per student: generally, the equivalent amount the school receives per student per year.

Do I need to have proof of my child being taken off the school roll?

TRUE - If you have only recently (within the last 12 months) become electively home educated we will ask for proof (a copy of the letter sent to the school or local authority). This is to ensure that funding will be available for your young person.

Is priority given to school funded students?

FALSE - We are a selective provision with a commitment to supporting the electively home educated community in this area. All applications are dealt with in date order.

Do New College accept any and all school funded students?

FALSE - We are a selective provision and it is vital that we only accept those students who demonstrate a commitment to their education and maturity to manage being based within an FE college environment. We request copies of school reports and behaviour logs in order to gain an overview of the young person.

Can school funded students study more subjects?

TRUE - The key advantage to remaining on the school roll is that you are able to enrol on a full time college study programme. This consists of 5 GCSES (sat within one year)

Electively home educated students are limited to study programmes of 450hrs - the equivalent of 3 GCSEs (sat within one year) thus allowing time for home education to continue alongside college.

Can I apply for Pre-16 places at any time?

FALSE - Our application process starts in January of each year and we tend to be at capacity by the end of June. An early application is key to a successful application.

Do Pre-16s only study with other Pre-16 students?

FALSE - The reason for our continued success is that our students are successfully embedded within lessons with FE students who reinforce mature behaviour and a good work ethic. This also ensures that our students have the opportunity to choose from an extensive list of courses.

My school has said that they cannot fund Pre-16?

This may be the case. Each educational setting has their own budgetary constraints. As the majority of senior schools are now Academy status, the Local Authority cannot enforce any guidance upon them.

The Local Authority ask that in this situation you meet with the school to discuss all options and seek support from the Swindon Advocacy Service. The Educational Welfare Officers may also be able to provide support.

Do Pre-16s tend to be the young people who have not been able to follow school rules?

CERTAINLY NOT - In fact the majority of Pre-16s are long-term home educated young people who join us to gain formal qualifications and broaden their knowledge.

Find out more

Call 07815 828333 to arrange an appointment with one of our Pre-16 Team.

Young Carers Charter: Pre-16

We are young people who have caring responsibilities and we believe that we should be supported both in and out of college:

  • For our home responsibilities to be understood.
  • To be able to share information about our role as young carers when we are interviewed and be reassured that staff who teach us will know this information.
  • To be provided with a red card so that should I feel too tired to fully focus or too worried/anxious to remain in class, then I can use this to leave the class and go to see Pre-16 staff.
  • We would like homework support time with Pre-16 staff as it can be difficult to find time to complete at home in some of our caring situations.
  • Our parents like to be involved and to support homework so we would like teachers to allow us a little extra time for this to happen.
  • Home education can be too much pressure when people are not well so we would like to have the opportunity to access AQA Qualifications at college and have the support and guidance to achieve these. This will help take the pressure off our parents. To have time away from caring responsibilities; to be offered (subsidised) social opportunities with our peer groups e.g. film nights, day trips (when possible)
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