Pre-16 Programme

Our Pre-16 offer provides a flexible student-centred programme for electively home-educated young people. The programme gives you access to courses, facilities and experiences that you may not be able to access at home.

Our Pre-16 base room and office area is warm and welcoming. It provides a calm and safe environment for those who might not be ready to access all college areas just yet.

Who is it for? 

Our Pre-16 programme is for home-educated 14 – 16 year olds who will attend college to enhance their home education. The Government funds these students. 

In some instances, schools will fund their own students to come to college as an alternative to studying at school.

Please download and print the Pre-16 application form via the below button. Please note that this form is designed to be printed and cannot be completed online. Please return all forms via email to or post to Pre-16 New College Swindon, Queens Drive, Swindon SN3 1AH.

What will I study?

If you are Electively Home Educated you can study up to three GCSEs in each academic year. This allows for a focused delivery and makes sure that there is still time for you to also be home educated. 

If you normally attend school but your school has agreed to fund your Pre-16 programme you will study five GCSEs per academic year and have a full timetable at college.

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

All programmes include Maths and English GCSE or equivalents unless you have already received a Grade 4/C or above at GCSE in each subject (exceptions are made if you are studying these at home or with another provider). 

Why Come to New College Swindon? 

Our bespoke Pre-16 programmes are popular, positive and effective with students. They allow students to study in a mature learning environment while being supported by a dedicated pastoral team and tutors. 

  • Facilities and expertise in a range of subjects
  • Learn in an educational environment different to school
  • Benefit from different teaching and learning styles
  • Range of vocational courses taught alongside GCSEs
  • Strong pastoral care and student support

Enrichment and Activities 

You will have the opportunity to take part in lots of Pre-16 focused activities including seasonal parties, subject-themed days, subject-based trips (residential are offered on some courses), weekly enrichment time and the Pre-16 Prom. We also work with our Young Carers in a weekly group that offers the opportunity to work towards AQA Units, socialise with others and arrange local trips.

Pre-16 Myth Buster

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

Our Pre-16 programme is for students who are already being home educated. You will have made an informed choice to home educate your child and will be looking for opportunities to enhance their learning after home education has been established.

There are some instances where your school will agree for your child to attend college instead of school, but it be best to discuss this with your school first.

If I have home educated from May can they start in September that year?

Pre-16 applicants need to have been educated for a minimum of six months. The vast majority of Pre-16 students have been actively home educated for two years or longer and many have never attended formal education.

My child is unhappy at school so needs to come to Pre-16.

In this situation is it best to speak to the school and discuss the situation with them. They may be able to explore a managed move/additional support/reduced timetable or other strategies to help your child to stay in school to complete their GCSEs.

If no solution can be found, then the school might suggest alternative provision such as our Pre-16 programme. The school will then need to contact us to make an application for your child.

My child’s school have said Pre-16 is too expensive.

Pre-16 costs schools £5,250 per year per student. This is the equivalent funding amount the school receives per student per year.

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

Yes, if you have only recently (within the last 12 months) start home educating we will need to see proof such as a copy of the letter sent to the school or local authority. This allows us to make sure that funding will be available for your young person.

Priority is given to school funded students

No – we are a selective provision with a commitment to supporting the electively home educated community in our area. All applications are dealt with in date order.

New College Swindon will accept any and all school funded students

We are a selective provision and will only accept students who demonstrate a commitment to their education and maturity to be based in a college environment.

School funded students can study more subjects

Yes! The main advantage to staying on the school roll is that you are able to enrol on a full time College study programme (five GCSEs in one year.)

Electively home educated students are limited to study programmes of 450hrs – the equivalent of three GCSEs in one year.

Can I apply for Pre 16 places at any time?

Our application process starts in January each year and we tend to be at capacity by the end of June. Our provision is very popular so we recommend making an application as soon as you can in the application window.

Schools are issued with a closing date for applications which is in early June.

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

Our Pre-16 students work alongside FE (main college) students in lessons. This allows our students to choose from a wide range of courses and to study in a mature learning environment.

My school has said they cannot fund Pre-16

This may be the case due to their budgeting constraints. The majority of senior schools are Academies and the Local Authority cannot enforce any guidance upon them.

In this situation, the Local Authority suggests 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.

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

This is not the case. The majority of Pre-16s are long term home educated young people who join us to gain formal qualifications and broaden their knowledge.

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Queens Drive Campus
Queens Drive Campus
New College Drive
Tel: 01793 611470
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North Star Campus
North Star Campus
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 491591
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Adult Education Centre
Adult Education Centre
Focal Point
27-35 Fleet Street
Swindon SN1 1RQ
Tel: 01793 511665
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Institute of Technology
Institute of Technology
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 491591
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