Courses for school leavers: Online guide to getting a guaranteed place for 2021/22

Thinking about joining college after you finish school? School leavers are guaranteed a place at City of Bristol College next September.

To make things easy, we’ve put all the information you and your parents/carers need on this page.

On this page:


If you’re aged 16-18 and want to join City of Bristol College next September, you’re guaranteed a place.

That’s because, no matter what happens, your education and wellbeing come first at City of Bristol College.

Why City of Bristol College?

The choices you make when you’re young can change your life.

If you live in or around Bristol, it’s key to consider if City of Bristol College could be your top choice for next September.

City of Bristol College centres are exciting, supportive places where young people come together and achieve amazing things.

With City of Bristol College, you’re in control. Find a course that suits you, work hard and take advantage of everything on offer.

We have a diverse college community, excellent facilities, expert staff and a massive range of courses.

Take the lead and shape your future

You can go down a traditional, academic route by studying A Levels at our central Bristol location, College Green Centre.

Or, if you’re thinking of training in a particular industry, you can apply for one of our specialist vocational courses.

No matter what your goals are, we will be with you every step of the way.

Young Person’s Prospectus

Application information for school leavers (16-18 year olds)

Academic Year 2021/22

  • Search to find a course. Read through the course information, to check the course is right for you.
  • If the course you’re interested in is open for enquiries or applications, you will see a blue apply button or enquire button at the base of the course page.
  • If you want to apply for an A Level pathway, apply for one pathway on the A Levels page.
  • After applying, you will be invited to a course information meeting. This will give you the opportunity to speak to our teachers about the course/pathway and help you decide if it is the best choice and level for you.
  • At the end of the meeting you should receive a verbal confirmation regarding your offer, which will shortly be followed by an email confirming this and asking you to accept your place.
  • An offer will be based on your suitability to the course, which includes the College agreeing that we can meet your needs. For further information please see the ‘Terms and Conditions for guaranteed places’ below.

Why we’re guaranteeing your place

Bristol’s young people have adapted to a lot of change recently.

School bubbles, hand washing routines, social distancing, online learning and new public transport arrangements. These are just some parts of our daily routines that can feel quite bizarre when compared with life before COVID-19.

Coming to City of Bristol College should be an exciting new chapter of your life. You shouldn’t have to overcome any unnecessary challenges. So, to help reduce any anxiety, we’re offering all 16-18 year olds guaranteed places for academic year 2021/22.

Whatever happens, we are here to help you.

What if I don’t get the grades?

The guaranteed place is given subject to you meeting all course entry criteria.

Under the guarantee, we will provide you with a place on the course which is the most suitable for you. Should your grades be different than you expected, your guaranteed place may be on a course that is a level up or down.

A guaranteed place does not mean that you do not have study hard this year. Your final grades are important in getting you on the course of your choice.

The better your result, the higher level of study. 

Explore our guide to qualifications, for an overview of the entry requirements for each level of study.

Terms and conditions for guaranteed places

Places will be offered for a specific course of study at City of Bristol College, subject to the applicant meeting all course entry criteria. Should the applicant not meet the entry criteria, under the guarantee, the College will identify an alternative course of study, to ensure that the applicant is studying at the level that is right for them (this could be a level higher or lower than they had originally planned).

The College reserves the right to change terms and conditions of guaranteed places based on a range of factors, but will honour guaranteed places offered to applicants before any such change takes place. Applicants with a guaranteed place will be asked to accept or decline their offer. Applications from pupils with high needs or an EHCP, will be reviewed by the College’s Additional Learning Support Team to ensure that the College can meet the applicant’s support needs.

What can you study?

Browse all courses for school leavers

We have a range of subjects and programmes suitable for young people and school leavers. These include:

Not sure what subject is right for you?

If you’re not sure which course or subject area is the one for you we, you can:

Our college centres and facilities

City of Bristol College is a dynamic place to learn, with five excellent learning centres at College Green, Ashley Down, Hengrove Park and two centres at Bristol Parkway. The college will also be opening its £9million Construction Skills Centre in 2021 at Hengrove Park.

Find out more about our centres and facilities

English and Maths for school leavers

English and Maths are the most important skills and qualifications you need, to make progress in your life.

Every course for school leavers includes English and Maths development. We want all of our students to gain English and Maths at Level 2.

Find out more about English and Maths for school leavers

Financial support

Bursaries funds

A student must be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2020 to be eligible for help from the bursary fund in the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • Discretionary bursaries to help with the cost of transport, meals, books, uniform and equipment.
  • Vulnerable Bursaries of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups.

Discretionary bursaries

Students aged 16-19, from low income households, can apply for one of a number of bursaries. If you’re eligible, this scheme can help with course-related costs and travel.

The funds may be able to support course fees, travel costs, childcare, books, equipment and course trips.

The fund is limited so make sure you apply early.

You will need to complete this form using Adobe Reader to ensure you can digitally sign them. If you do not have this software, it can be downloaded for free.

Vulnerable bursaries

You may be guaranteed a bursary if you are aged between 16-18 and are:

  • in care
  • a care leaver
  • an Income Support recipient
  • a disabled young person in receipt of both ESA and DLA or PIP.

Support for young parents

If you’re a young parent (under 20 at the start of your course), Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare and travel costs while you are at College. To find out more, visit the Care to Learn website or call 0800 121 8989.

You must then book an appointment with an adviser before sending off your application form. You can do this by calling 0117 312 5000, emailing

Free college meals

If your parent or guardian receives certain benefits, you may be eligible for free meals.

To be eligible for Free Meals, you must be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2020, or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and be in receipt of, or have parents in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 per annum

Eligible students will be entitled to a free meal allowance; a minimum of £2.41 each day for timetabled activities. Free meals funding is available to the student from the point of a successful bursary application and cannot be back dated.

Application forms are available from Learner Services (reception). For more information, call us on 0117 312 5000 or email

Academic and wellbeing support

Your wellbeing is really important to us. We’re here to make sure you get the support you need, whenever you need it.

Support available includes study support, mental health support and more. Find out more on our wellbeing support pages.

If you need additional learning support, we can work with you before you’re a student with us, to make sure the right support is in place for you. Find out more on our additional learning support pages.

Events and information

We have lots of information on this site. Take time to discover information about our centres, courses, student life and more!

We’re also hosting Digital Open Events and Information Days throughout the year. These will help you can get the information you need in a safe way.

Please note, the range of events on offer may change due to circumstances we can’t foresee relating to coronavirus.

Get in touch

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can also follow us on social media.

Subject page links

Where to find us