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Sixth Form FAQs

What is the step up from GCSE to A-Level like?

Consider GCSE a gradual slope, increasing over the years until you sit the exams.  A levels take a big jump up, the pace is much faster and there is an expectation that all students complete independent study.  As a rule of thumb, for every taught hour, another hour should be spent studying.  This study could be completing work done in class, researching the next topic, reading an article or text on a topic, watching a documentary, following a blog, and so on.  Homework is on top of this and is typically an hour per teacher per week, so potentially a further 6 hours of study.  There are 9 timetabled supervised study sessions per fortnight where students can do this work as well as non-timetabled lessons where we expect students to spend the majority of their time studying.

What subject combinations are available, are they blocked?

There are currently no limits on your combinations if you apply before the deadline of February 1st, timetabling will be based on the applications we have received at that time. There may be some combination that we are unable to accommodate (likely those that choose from a number of different curriculum areas) but students will be contacted to discuss this on a case by case basis at some point in February or March. Anyone applying after February 1st will be limited by the timetabling already created. 

How easy is it to change courses if a student isn’t enjoying their subject?

It is not ideal to change courses once you have started in September, we are happy for you to change your requested courses at any point prior to registration in August. Those students who realise they have chosen incorrectly after starting their course in September can request to change but this will depend on timetabling and availability. We can only consider changes like this in the first four weeks as otherwise you will have missed too much of the new course.

Is it possible to study a subject that a student hasn’t done before e.g.Photography?

Yes it is, please refer to the entry requirements for each course for this. Courses like Art and photography can be accessed without having previously taken a GCSE by way of a submitted portfolio of relevant work (this can be accepted digitally)

Can a student take 4 A-Levels?

Yes but this is on a case by case basis and subject to the relevant timetabling. Universities no longer request four A levels for their courses so be sure about spreading your time and energy in this way before you request this.

What are your thoughts on university vs. apprenticeships?

There are arguments for and against the university route versus an apprenticeship, however it is important to keep in mind that this decision is not a one policy fits all. The school will support students equally in pursuing either route and we will support students in choosing the pathway that’s works best for you as an individual.  Some careers, such as doctor or barrister for example, require a degree in a specific subject. Some employers, such as the Civil Service Fast Stream, do not ask for a specific degree, as long as you have one. This is where a traditional university degree might allow you to keep your options open: a subject like English, for example, may not have a direct vocational focus, but will teach soft skills such as research, communication, and analysis that many employers value. On the other hand, many employers value experience and technical skills as much as, if not more than, qualifications. This is where apprenticeships really excel as they allow you to gain hands-on experience in the workplace. In addition, it is possible to gain a degree through a degree apprenticeship, which would give you the best of both worlds. With this pathway, you would learn on the job alongside completing a degree on a part time basis. The school will provide further information, advice and guidance on university, degrees, apprenticeships and degree apprenticeship opportunities.

Are your teachers specific to the sixth form or do they work in the main school and sixth form as well?

Teachers work through the year groups, however due to the benefits of our size we have specialist teachers in all our curriculum areas. Your teacher is likely to specialise further in your specific course but they will still work with other students in other year groups. 

How many students are in a class? 

This will depend on the popularity of your course, some courses like Sociology are very popular and therefore we are likely to run two classes in order to limit the size of the class. We are unable to say how many students there will be in any of our classes until we have completed registrations in August, however the average class size for sixth form is in the region of 22-24.

Are sixth form students in school every day? 

Yes students are expected in school everyday for the whole day. However students will have both supervised and independent study periods on their timetables, but these are expected to be undertaken in school.

What are the enrichment opportunities you offer? 

The Enrichment options are displayed on our website and in our virtual open evening. They are also listed on your application, as you must choose one and a reserve at the point of applying. However, the enrichments are not currently operating fully due to the on going pandemic. It is hoped they will be back to normal provision by September 2021.