In Ballymena many students are currently pondering this question – Should I carry on at School or is it time to move on? At the end of fifth year students will be awaiting their GCSE results. After this there are probably more options than you can imagine.

Your natural reaction may be that you want to stay at school. Maybe your friends are staying to do their A-levels, or you are scared to move on to somewhere new but leaving school isn’t necessarily a bad option.

Carry on at School or time to move on - Ballymena Today

Carry on at School or time to move on – Ballymena Today

Planning you future career can be impossible at the age of 25 let alone 15. At school you have the opportunity to pick and choose different subjects but during your A-levels you will be asked to narrow your choices down to three or four. Before you make any choices think through the sort of career that appeals to you. Get online and check out some job descriptions, careers information and if you fancy it university courses. Ask your family and people you know who are in different industries what they advice is. That way you will be making informed choices about your future rather than going with the crowd.

Career Connect is a useful website to take a look at.

Reasons why staying at school is your best option

If you really enjoy school and look forward to going in the morning then you are probably in the right place. Check carefully that your school offers the A-Levels that will help you get to where you want to go. Also check that your GCSE results are suitable to be offered a place at school. Bear in mind that if you have struggled through your GCSE’s then you might want to consider your other options.

School also offers a safe, and familiar place for another two years in your educations. If you are involved in lots of extracurricular clubs and team remember that if you leave school you will also be leaving these behind.

If you are feeling the pressure of choosing subjects and thinking about your future then click here to read information from Childline about planning your future.

Carry on at School or time to move on - Ballymena Today

However . . .

Reasons why it might be time to move on from school

School is not for everyone. If you have had to drag yourself out of your bed for the last five years than maybe it is time for a change. Another learning environment might suit you better – at College you don’t have to wear a uniform, and you probably won’t be in class from 9-3 every day. This change in lifestyle may well help you to get motivated for your new class.

Do you know the industry or sector which you would like to work in? If you are interested in working in a vocational sector, for example Construction, Engineering, Hair Dressing etc then College might be the place for you. Courses will focus on the topic that you want to specialise in, with different modules opening up different disciplines and career routes for you to think about. To find out more about courses available at Northern Regional College please click here. At college you can also get help with your English and Maths GCSE’s if you struggled with them at school.

Also if you enjoy having a part time job then college could be a great options. Many local schools advise against having a part time job while studying for your A-levels (although it is still your choice), but having a job can give you experiences and responsibilities which will help you stand out from others. A part time job can often be your route into a future career, working in retail can lead to management, while an office job could lead to promotions. Some jobs may even give you the opportunity to go back into education later in life to help you get the qualifications they desire.


Here are some other websites recommended by Childline which can help you if you are struggling with decisions about your future.

Whatever choice you make remember not to stay at school for the wrong reasons. Just because all your friends are staying doesn’t mean that it is the right decision for you. You will still be able to see your friends and will meet lots of new people in college or your job. This is a very exciting time and shouldn’t be stressful or cause you to worry. Make sure you talk to your teachers and parents about this important decision.