As with the lower years, the Sixth Form is characterised by a strong rapport between students and staff, a focus on the individual and a determination to bring out the potential in every student. Class sizes are even smaller in the Sixth Form (a maximum of 10 in most subjects, 8 in the sciences) and lessons are equally interactive and dynamic.
Our Sixth Form is on a separate site close by and this means we are able to offer students more freedom and responsibility in the Sixth Form than is suitable for our younger students. In the Sixth Form, students do not wear a uniform, they do not have registration or attend morning assembly, and they do not have to be on site at all times. This independence is, after all, essential in the preparation of our students for university and an appropriate response to the stage of their lives they are entering. We find that by the time they progress to the Sixth Form, our students are eager to grasp the greater responsibility and independence they are given, and that they are ready to do so.
A smooth transition
We aim to make the transition of our students from the Lower School to the Sixth Form as smooth as possible. While it is an exciting ‘step-up’ for students, they will find the ethos is one with which they are already familiar and comfortable. Students will also have worked with many of the teachers and students with whom they will be surrounded in the Sixth Form in school productions, in extra-curricular activities or on school trips. In Year 11 students will also spend a morning or two in Sixth Form lessons in order to manage expectations and indeed to excite students about their next challenge!
The right subject choices
We spend a good deal of time working with students to help them decide on the combination of subjects they will study in the Sixth Form. Choosing AS level subjects is an exciting opportunity for students to focus on the areas they really enjoy and in which they are most able and indeed to try something completely new. We offer more than 30 subjects at A level, and students have a completely free choice. Given that choosing the right subjects is a crucial step towards shaping future opportunities, such an array of choices can feel daunting.
The process starts in Year 10 with a talk from the Head of Lower Sixth about A level study and the importance of making the right subject choices. During Year 11, our students attend a series of events geared towards subject choices such as taster lessons, Open Mornings, careers talks and talks with current Sixth Form students. Students are supported throughout this process by their form teacher, and they are also invited to meet with our Head of Lower Sixth and Lower School Progression Co-ordinator to discuss A level subject choices. We arrange these meetings after the end of the school day, and they are an excellent chance not only to work through subject options in depth but also to ask any other questions about the Sixth Form that students have.