By Jo Phillips

What’s the Difference Between a Tutorial College, a Sixth Form College, and Further Education College?

If you’ve reached Year 11, the chances are that you’re thinking of the next step to take after completing school. While considering your options is undoubtedly exciting, it’s easy to get confused, especially at the differences between a tutorial or sixth form college, sixth form school, and further education college. So, if you’re scratching your head and wondering how they differ, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know in this article.

Sixth form

Sixth form schools are generally attached to secondary schools and offer students BTECs, A-levels, and International Baccalaureate in some cases. They’re an excellent option for those who are happy where they currently are. However, if you want to change your environment or scene once you complete school, it’s best to look into a sixth form or tutorial college instead. Choosing to go for sixth form, especially one sharing the same site with your previous school, will likely mean that the same people will teach you.

Tutorial college

Tutorial colleges are a middle ground or combination of sixth form and further education colleges. Beyond offering vocational courses, the primary difference is that schools like theirs are more informal. For example, you likely won’t be forced to adhere to a dress code and will be free to wear your clothes instead of a school uniform. Moreover, your timetable might not be the same as other students – there’s a possibility that you won’t have to attend school every day. You might also get some free periods during your school days, giving you extra time for your studies.

A tutorial college blends small groups or individual tutorials, one-to-one weekly personal tutoring sessions and dynamic feedback on learning, ensuring students have personalised guidance. The approach is based on the principles of tutorial method of learning that fosters independence, confidence and responsibility on students.

Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for tutorial colleges to use various teaching approaches to enhance student learning, such as individual, group, or even private learning sessions. With their broader curriculum and access to learning resources, it comes as no surprise that they’re a popular option among students.

As a bonus, students at tutorial colleges like Oxford Tutorial College are likely to share the same age as you, so you won’t have to be around and deal with overenthusiastic Year 7s. In addition, this form of college gives you more independence and an opportunity to start meeting new people and friends.

Further education college

In many ways, further education college is similar to its sixth form or tutorial counterpart in that they both have varied timetables and don’t normally require their students to wear school uniforms. However, they offer different learning environments to what students might be used to up to this point. The reason is that colleges provide a broader range of studies and courses. They’re also more open in comparison, meaning students of all ages can go. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to be in classes where students may be younger or older than you.

Further education colleges also offer looser restrictions and treat their students like adults. While students aren’t required to spend a lot of time in their respective classes, those who forget to do their homework or lack motivation might be an extra push by the college to ensure that their grades remain as high as possible.


Now that you have a better idea of your options after completing school, you might be wondering which one is ideal for you. It’s recommended that you begin by considering how you can learn quicker and more effectively and go from there. Additionally, speak with your teachers and parents about it, as they can offer insight that will guide you in the right direction.

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