Sixth Form Life
In the Spring Term of Year 12, the Senior Student Leadership team is elected. They assist with the running of whole-school events and committees responsible for aspects of school life linked to our school Character Strengths – Respect, Positivity and Resilience, Making Good Decisions, Integrity and Love of Learning.
Each team of Prefects is led by a Student Ambassador who is assisted by a Senior Prefect. The Student Leadership Team inspire, encourage and motivate all members of the school community to embrace and live the school’s Character Strengths.
The Respect team promote equality and diversity through events such as Black History Month. They also oversee charity events in school to encourage a sense of kindness through helping others. The Positivity and Resilience team champions mental well-being within school. They mentor younger students and organise a calendar of well-being events throughout the year. Student Forum and the Environment Committee are run by the Making Good Decisions Team who encourage students to apply skills of decision-making to real life situations. The Integrity team consists of two parts: House Captains and the Transition team. The house team co-ordinates events and encourages house spirit in sporting, academic or creative events. The transition team aims to provide all new students with a smooth transition when they join the school. The team for Love of Learning aims to encourage students to be passionate about their subjects and to support them by providing study tips and tricks. They also work with subject departments to enhance the curriculum and provide a wide variety of extracurricular activities for students to enjoy.
The school offers support and a variety of opportunities to prepare leaders of the future.
Sixth Form students are an integral part of the school community; they are role models for younger students in the school.
Year 12 students help to mentor students in Year 7 and as leaders of our six Houses (Ursa, Delphinus, Pegasus, Cygnus, Phoenix and Aquila), they encourage participation in all House activities; from Literacy Week to Sports Day and House based charity fund-raising events.
In recent years, Sixth Form students have led the way in fundraising for a wide range of charities: local, national and international. Their commitment is exemplified by raising £20,000 in one academic year, including £8,000 for Comic Relief.
Sixth Form students also lead various activities with younger students such as the annual Year 9 Fashion Show and lunchtime clubs, e.g. French Club, Medicine/Dentistry/Veterinary Society and gardening club. Further opportunities to work with students in other year groups include Peer Mentoring; Drama Club; Senior Orchestra; the Debating Society and supporting in lessons. The BBC Young Reporter is an avenue for budding journalists to be involved with leading the production of articles and a News day with video recordings.
In school, Sixth Form students support learning for younger students in Literacy, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages and Science. Sixth Form students have also visited local primary schools in their role as Science and Maths leaders.
Trips and Extra-Curricular Activities
There are trips and residential visits which have recently included the chance to complete work experience in Spain, visit the Hadron Collider in Switzerland or Rome for a historical tour. In the summer of 2016 students had the opportunity to visit Berlin or take part in the World Challenge to Kruger Coast in Africa. We also offer students the opportunity to take part in several residential trips to Amsterdam for example, as well as a three-week expedition through the World Challenge including Africa, China and Tanzania. Year 12 have an Induction trip to London where they have a variety of places to visit, see a musical and visit Oxford. In Year 12 students visit the University of Nottingham for a taster day and lectures to explore their next steps.
Additional trips include; plays for English Language and Literature, a Geography residential to Lulworth, Hardwick Hall and the National Space Centre.
During Sixth Form we also want to have lots of fun, and we find that Tinsel Day and House Festival are never to be forgotten events! They are planned and organised by Year 12 students for the remainder of the school.
House festival is the biggest house competition in the school year. Flaunting their abilities in events as a year house group, the students battle to be the overall winners of the day. Traditional events include a song competition where students choreograph a dance to a song of the corresponding theme and perform it to the rest of the year group. The winner is the one that is deemed best by the judging panel.
Another typical event would be the drama which is split into an improvised and planned performance. The planned drama is based around a line that each year is given relating to the chosen theme whilst the improvised performance comes together in the space of around 20 minutes where students are given a prop and expected to come up with an original sketch or skit. The final event is sports; this can vary from benchball to outdoor summer sports with mini races and events including throwing and catching a water balloon until it bursts. The flexibility lies in the fact that the day is organised by the Year 12 house captains and the whole of Year 12 comes together to run the individual events.
Starting Sixth Form is different for everyone. We want to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and is able to make the most of the opportunities available. The Sixth Form induction day is held in July for all prospective students where current students are also available to talk to for extra insight. At this stage summer work is also set to help bridge the gap from GCSE to A Level.
The start of September enables students to take part in a transitional skills workshop to help prepare for a new way of working for A Level, ICT and library induction sessions as well as subject induction sessions with Heads of Departments. During these activities we focus on team building and resilience. This continues with a programme of workshops which includes; launching our volunteering programme, BBC school report training sessions, mindfulness, student skills such as time management and consolidation techniques, Year 13 buddies and an exciting session with former student Olivia Hinds to focus on empowerment.
The Sixth Form office has an open door policy and students regularly drop in for a chat or to let us know if they are worried about a friend. This open and honest relationship means that we are able to work with students and families to make Sixth Form work and help students to become resilient and ready for whatever they may face next.
Each half-term students have an Academic Review and are provided with an update of their progress which is shared with parents. This ensures that students can be supported and measures can be proactive as opposed to reactive. This support comes from many people, form tutors, Mr Charles (Head of Sixth Form) and Miss Bailey (Assistant Head of Sixth Form) or Mrs Lenton (Sixth Form Administrator) to name a few.
The 16-19 Bursary is also available to offer financial support to students whose household income falls below £25,000. This support helps students to access study materials and trips for example. Applications are made in the September of each academic year and students are informed as to their level of financial support.
Understanding teachers and a very welcoming atmosphere.
A continued programme of modernisation and investment in accommodation and equipment has resulted in excellent facilities for students. These include science laboratories, a fitness suite and dance studio, art and music rooms. ICT provision throughout the school is outstanding and includes ICT resources specifically for Sixth Form use. Our most recent additions are a sports hall and a classroom and extended dining room block.
Sixth Form students have the benefit of their own dedicated areas. There is a newly refurbished common room with its own catering facilities, an Independent Learning Centre (complete with a full-time Learning Advisor), a mezzanine library area, ICT suite, quiet study areas and a careers library.
The social space offers an independent study area which is furnished with ICT for students to continue with their own work. This spaces proves popular as it is bright and spacious and offers students an alternative study venue.
There are many opportunities for Sixth Form students to extend themselves in their chosen subjects. Departments encourage independent learning with suggested reading materials and sources for research. This also includes evenings lectures and masterclasses delivered by external experts; projects with local healthcare providers; Olympiads in Physics, Chemistry and Biology and the Senior Maths Challenge.
Online courses (MOOCs) are also advertised regularly as a free way to learn in more depth about areas of specific interest, often outside the A Level curriculum. All students are directed to complete the online course, Learning to Learn, to help with the transition to successful Sixth Form studying.
Every week a lecture is delivered in school during a lunchtime by a research student or lecturer from a range of universities around the country. Previous topics have included; Polymers, STEM Inspire, Natural Sciences, Computer Science, English, Genetics, History and Politics, Psychology, Biosciences, Law, Pharmacy, Art, Geography, Mechanics in Physics, Physiotherapy, Business, Earth Observation Science and Physics and Astronomy.
Students are supported to use the UCAS programme to record their thoughts on wider reading and to use this as a basis for a personal statement. Reflecting upon reading or work experience is a key skill in producing a well-considered personal statement and so this is visited regularly during Sixth Form.
Volunteering and Work Experience
Year 12 students are encouraged to volunteer which helps them to thrive and transform the communities in which they live, developing vital skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. It is also an opportunity to undertake shadowing of jobs that students may be interested in or to develop softer skills such as communication. Long term volunteering, from November to April also demonstrates commitment and organisation. As part of Vinspired students can achieve the v30 award which certifies that they have completed 30 hours of volunteering.
We have students regularly volunteering in local primary schools and care homes, these provide an excellent insight into educational and health care professions. More recently we have been able to signpost opportunities for placements with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover for engineering.
Students are offered one week in May to organise an additional placement to experience a “full time” job. This placement is sought independently, with students being supported with applications throughout the year and help with writing letters and CVs.
It is a place where diversity is celebrated and is a part of the welcoming and warm atmosphere that is known to us all.
Societies are established and run by students who want to share their passion and interest in a particular area. Examples of societies are included below.
MedSoc is a society which helps you decide whether medicine is the career path for you. We are here to support you on your journey by: explaining the medical application process, discussing the latest medical news and organising events to raise funds for charities all to help you develop the necessary skills to be a successful medical applicant. We invite many guests over the course of the year ranging from doctors to previous students to enrich you with new perspectives. Whether you're a curious onlooker or a decided future medic, MedSoc is here to inform, invite and support you.
Applications to university can be stressful, especially when applying for a competitive course like dentistry. In order to ease the application process, answer any questions and create a society where we can discuss advances in dentistry; every Thursday lunchtime we run DentSoc. We like to encourage further reading by discussing articles that are currently in the news, regarding controversies in dentistry. We are currently organising a charity event that will raise money to promote oral health for less fortunate communities.