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Choices at 14

The choices you make in Year 9 are vitally important for your future. They will determine what subjects you can study post-16 or what type of training you can enter. They can even influence what job you might get when you leave education.

So, here’s what you need to know:

  • what subjects are available
  • which ones would suit you best
  • where you can find out more

Visit the careers library or Connexions resources centre in your school and look at the information in the Choices section.

Mersey Interactive

Check out the Mersey Interactive website which brings together all of the careers information, advice and guidance available in Wirral and the other areas of the Mersey region. The website is really easy to use – there's a simple registration process and then young people can use the site to help plan their futures and look at the possible career paths available. Parents are also able to register and view all the careers information to help their child work through their options.

The Wirral Interactive area can help you find out what sort of person you are, with things like the Future Morph 'who are you' quiz. The site provides localised content with sections to help you discover what your options are and to identify qualifications and skills you might need, or which jobs might be suitable for you. It can also point you in the right direction to find out more about things like Apprenticeships and University, and has handy tools such as a student calculator.


You can also visit the U-Explore website (which all Wirral schools subscribe to) for loads of information about the different choices available to make in Year 9, and future options. The site provides information about various types of qualifications & training, job roles and careers pathways.

UCAS Progress

You can visit UCAS Progress, found in the Mersey Interactive website, to find details of courses on offer, and to make and manage your course applications.

Talk to people

Speak to your teachers and find out which subjects they think you will do best in. Speak to your Connexions Personal Adviser and find out how the subjects you are thinking of doing may affect your future career plans.

National Careers Service

If you’re looking for help and advice to plan your future, the National Careers Service can help you. They have friendly advisers who can provide information on learning, work, apprenticeships and choosing the right university.

Rising the Participation Age

The government has changed the law to increase the age at which young people are required to participate in education or training. This is called Rising the Participation Age, or RPA. From 2015, young people are required to continue in education until their 18th birthday from 2015.

So will I have to stay at school?

This does not necessarily mean you have to stay on at school after Year 11 if you don't want to, as you will have a choice about how you participate.

This could be through:

  • full-time education, such as school, college or home education
  • an apprenticeship
  • part-time education or training if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Advice and guidance on the full range of options open to you will be available through your school, as well as the young people's careers helpline and online resources. You can talk to your teachers about accessing face to face advice if you want some help thinking through the pros and cons of different options.

Find out more about Raising the Participation Age