Information for Ukrainian students aged 16-19

Advice for students, their parents and host families currently living in Hackney

In the UK, young people are expected to remain in education or employment with training until they are 18 years old. This is called Raising the Participation Age (RPA).

Students start secondary education aged 11 and usually stay in the same school until they are 16 years old, when they take GCSEs exams.  Some students will then move into the Sixth Form in the same school and stay there until they are 18, when they will do A Level or BTEC exams.  Others will move at 16 to colleges or specialist providers to study vocational or academic courses until the age of 18 or 19.

Applying for 16-19 education

The application process for 16-19 education starts the previous year when students are aged 15 to 16 and in Year 11 at school. However, 16-19 and further education colleges will often accept applications throughout the year. Courses usually start in September or sometimes January. 

For school sixth forms, this process usually ends by March each year and places are offered for the following September. So it may be difficult to gain a place in a school sixth form to start in September if you arrive after March.  

Schools in Hackney mainly offer A Levels and BTECs, which are academic qualifications requiring good English, so a college may be a better option for a recent arrival unless your English is very good.  Colleges often offer English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses alongside other study.  

In England young people who do not have GCSE maths and English at Grade 4 or above are required to study maths and English alongside their course. You should talk to the Admissions Department at your chosen college about this, as sometimes qualifications from outside of the UK can also be taken into account.

Colleges will assess your level of English and look at your previous study and qualifications before advising you on what courses to offer you.

There are two colleges in Hackney:  

1. BSix Sixth Form College offers academic and vocational study programmes for learners aged 16-19. These are mainly A Levels and BTECs which can lead to university or apprenticeships.

It offers ESOL courses for young people at a range of levels which can be studied alongside vocational courses in: 

  • Business
  • Health
  • Social and childcare 
  • Media 
  • Travel and tourism

2. New City College Hackney offers a range of BTEC and vocational courses for students aged 16 and over. Some courses will lead to university and others prepare you for work. The college offers apprenticeships too, which can be a good route into work.

It offers ESOL courses for young people aimed at those with little or no English.

How to apply to schools, colleges and providers in Hackney

The online Hackney Sixth Form Prospectus shows all schools and colleges in Hackney plus some specialist providers. It includes details of open days, courses and how to apply for places.

You can also choose to study at colleges outside of Hackney.  Contact our careers advisors below, for more information on this.

Applying to university

Although in England, students generally apply for university when they are 18 or older, if you are aged 17 and have achieved your General Certificate of Education in Ukraine and have an English IELTS qualification of 6-6.5 or above you can apply for university. University courses generally start in September.

University in England is not free but Ukrainian students are eligible for the financial loans offered to English students if you are part of the following schemes:

  • the Ukraine Family Scheme
  • the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
  • the Ukraine Extension Scheme

See more

Some universities may also offer extra financial support.  You should look at their websites or ask their Admissions Department for more information. 

Students apply for university using the UCAS website. This website includes lots of information and support for your application.

Careers advice

If you are currently living in Hackney and would like some support and advice on getting a place at school or college or university call 020 8356 7866 or email to make an online, telephone or physical appointment with a careers adviser (young people and/or their parents/carers/hosts can all make appointments).

They can also help young people apply for apprenticeships.

See other careers advice services.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

There is more information on apprenticeships and traineeships on the National Apprenticeship Service website. Or you can search and apply for vacancies using Find an Apprenticeship.

For students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

If you have additional needs and have received support while studying in Ukraine, contact Bryan Taylor on 07769 648664 or for advice on the options available to you. 

Making friends and meeting people

The Young Hackney website lists out of school opportunities for young people in Hackney to meet other young people, learn new skills or just have fun. They also provide information on a wide range of advice and support available to young people in Hackney. 


14-19 Education Office

020 8820 7162 (Monday to Thursday, term time only)

Careers and progression advice for 16-19 year olds

07769 648664 or 020 8356 7866
This page was last modified on: 27 Jan 2024