Together with our internal Year 11 students progressing into Year 12, more than 90 students join us from other schools each year to create a Lower Sixth of around 140 students. Changing schools for Sixth Form is, therefore, a very common decision as students and parents look for the right environment for the crucial final two years before university.
Most students join us because they are ready for slightly more independence than they might experience staying at the school where they have been for several years; many have thoroughly enjoyed their previous school but feel they have outgrown it. They feel our sixth form environment is perhaps better suited to their age and this stage of their development. They are attracted by a dynamic environment where there is mutual respect, academic excellence, a busy sports and activities programme and plenty of laughter.
What's it like to join d'Overbroeck's for Sixth Form?
Head of d'Overbroeck's Sixth Form, Alasdair MacPherson in conversation with Andrew Gillespie.
- What's it like to join d'Overbroeck's for Sixth Form?
- How would you describe the ethos at d'Overbroeck's?
- Why do students study four A levels at the start of Sixth Form?
- How would you describe the move to the new Sixth Form building?
- What is it like to study at d'Overbroeck's?
- How do you help students choose their subjects in the Sixth Form?
- How would you describe a typical d'Overbroeck's teacher?
A relaxed but focused environment
The first name terms with staff, the lack of uniform and the sense of really working together with teachers towards the same goals is very appealing. As is the interactive approach to teaching and learning – we are interested in how you learn as well as what you learn and we are eager to develop independent thinkers, ready to question and challenge, confident of airing their views and debating and discussing issues. This can be a jump for some but the small classes where everyone’s views are respected, the very positive and encouraging approach of teachers and their expertise in helping you to build and express your ideas means that you gain an amazing amount of confidence during your time with us (this is one of the things commented on most by parents).
Put excellent and stimulating teaching together with students who are motivated and enjoying their learning, who are in classes where they feel confident asking questions if they are uncertain about anything and an environment where they can always sit and chat with teachers between lessons then perhaps not surprisingly the A level results are very strong indeed. In absolute terms students do extremely well – last year 24% of entries achieved A* at A level and in value added terms our students achieve at an exceptionally high level.
However we also believe in the importance of a broad curriculum so that we provide a sixth form education in its fullest sense. Our enrichment programme and our sports and activities where again everyone is encouraged and can develop existing and new skills and interests in many areas is important to students looking at sixth form options.
And central to what we do is a focus on the individual. We ask what d’Overbroeck’s can do for you rather than what you can do for d’Overbroeck’s. We value your ideas (for example we started the Model United Nations Club this year because some students were interested in this) and we do all we can to help you to be successful. We also want it to be fun and believe that sixth form should be a lively and enjoyable experience as well as or even because of it being one with plenty of studying! This mix of a socially relaxed environment but a strong underlying focus on what we are here to do is a powerful combination, especially given the fact that so many students have positively chosen to come to us so know why exactly why they are here and what they want from this.
Who joins us?
Most of our students are local but we are fortunate to have students from nearly 30 countries also come to join us. So we have a very diverse body of student – day and boarding, UK and international, students from state and independent schools, scientists, artists, writers, sports players and so on. Everyone can be themselves and it is remarkably easy to settle in. The good humour, the friendliness and support, the welcoming nature of teacher and students (and the absence of cliques and pettiness) is very noticeable and makes this a truly enjoyable and motivating place to study and to work. By focussing on the big things and not having to worry about issues such as the length of your hair or the colour of your nails we remove many of the frictions that can occur in schools at this age and concentrate on working together to make things as happy and successful as possible. So if you are looking for a sixth form experience that will allow you to develop academically, that will help you to develop as a person, where you will be valued, where you can express yourself and soon become friends with a fantastic group of students as well as being taught by some inspirational teachers then come and see us to find out more.