Post Year 11 Pathways
Sixth form precedes a period of major change: the end of students’ long association with school and the assumption of formal adult status as they embark on another stage in their lives. Such a significant step requires thorough preparation; what students decide now will impact them for some time to follow. The range of options is considerable and there is much to think about; planning ahead, choosing a course of action from the alternatives available and matching ambitions to abilities is all part of the preparation process.
As a sixth form, we aim to provide students with the opportunities to sample different kinds of courses and future careers, such as attending the annual UCAS convention and promoting various ‘taster days’. However, there is a great deal of information out there and countless opportunities; we cannot possibly cover everything in school. Therefore, whatever students’ aspirations, it is essential that they are proactive to find out the facts and research opportunities for themselves; we can provide advice and make suggestions but, ultimately, the decision is theirs.
In order to help them make the right decisions, students also have access to personalised advice and guidance, from both their form tutor and the Post-16 Guidance Manager. Sixth form students can also request a meeting with the school’s qualified career advisor, who provides independent guidance; these appointments are allocated based on need.
Approximately 85% of our sixth form students opt to apply to university through UCAS. Therefore, a considerable emphasis is placed on this process, which begins in the Spring term of Year 12. We have a great deal of experience in supporting the UCAS process and take great pride in helping students ensure that their applications are as strong as possible. As a result, we have an excellent track record of students securing places for high demand and competitive courses, with the vast majority of students receiving the offers they aspire to. Students who choose not to apply to university receive more tailored support to help them source and secure the opportunities they desire.
Both entry to Higher Education courses and access to the post-sixth form job market are more competitive than ever before. Whatever students’ chosen route, they will need to be proactive and ultimately aim to obtain the best possible examination results in order to persuade institutions and employers to accept them.
Learn Xtra: We are delighted to be able to offer Year 12 students a range of additional opportunities as part of our continued pilot programme, Learn Xtra. This programme enables students to opt into academic enrichment in addition to the core sixth form curriculum. The programme is launched in October of Year 12 when interested students are invited to attend a presentation to learn more about the qualifications below:
AS Critical Thinking: a breadth AS level which develops students’ powers of argument and reason. This is especially beneficial for students who will need to complete university admission tests (e.g. medicine, veterinary science, law).
AS General Studies: a breadth AS level covering a range of topics (ranging from science and politics to beliefs and values) through which students develop their awareness of current affairs, as well as argument and discussion skills.
Both of these courses require a four term commitment: one period per week during latter half of the autumn term of Year 12, two periods per week in spring / summer term of Year 12, exam in summer of Year 12, one/two periods per week during autumn Year 13, final exam in January of Year 13.
Extended Project Qualification: students studying towards one of the AS courses above will be eligible to apply to work towards completing an Extended Project Qualification during Year 13. This new qualification requires students to develop the independent study skills highly valued by universities. Students will select a topic of their choice as their focus then research this independently in order to complete a university style dissertation.
AQA Baccalaureate: students who opt for the EPQ at the end of Year 12 will also be able to work towards attaining the AQA Baccalaureate. Students qualify for the “AQA Bacc” by completing 3 A2 level subjects, either AS Critical Thinking or AS General Studies, an Extended Project Qualification and 100 hours of work / personal / community enrichment (recorded via an online enrichment diary). Although currently the AQA Bacc does not carry additional UCAS points, the final qualification demonstrates to universities / employers that the recipient is a well rounded, proactive individual able to operate at an independently at an academic level and beyond. No timetabled periods are allocated to this qualification as the enrichment and online diary components are completed in students’ own time.
As we are still in the pilot stage of Learn Xtra, places are limited and will be allocated on the strength of students’ applications following the October launch. Naturally, high levels of focus and self-motivation are essential.