What can you find on this page?
|Sixth Form ‘Must have’s’||Applying to Sixth Form|
|Sixth form: kinds of courses you can take||Where are the local Sixth Forms?|
|Should you continue with Sixth Form after year 11?||Useful Links|
|marcr.net – Higher Education section|
You want to go to Sixth Form? Make sure you have:
- The grades to get in – check the school or college website. If you are not sure whether you are going to get the right grades, apply for a backup as well – at the same time. This can be a college course at level 3, which has slightly lower entry grades, or T levels. Both of these will allow you to get into a lot of courses at university as well! If you end up getting the grades, you can easily cancel your backup. Not applying for one and then not getting the grades for sixth form may not be the best way forward.
- The right interest and personality – this is academic learning
- The right information about what it involves – talk to teachers, Sixth Formers, the school or college, look up course details and if you’re not sure talk to the head of Sixth Form if you can to ask to see what is covered on the course.
- The right focus – what do you want this to lead on to? Are A levels the way in? What do you want to get out of Sixth Form? Is it an option to extend your thinking time of what to do next? Or are you fully focused on getting into a ‘good for you’ university?
When you join Sixth Form, you:
- Usually choose 3 subjects and one enrichment subject which you take for one year. Some schools insist on enrichment, others don’t. It’s best to have a spare subject in mind if you can.
- Are expected to be self-motivated to great extent. What this means for Sixth Form is that you need to have a real interest in the subject which motivates you to do work of your own accord. To get the best out of your courses there is a lot of work involved apart from what a teacher asks you to do.
- Have quite a bit of study time when you’re not in lessons or ‘frees’ which aren’t ‘frees’; this is mainly time to do the extra work involved and for extra things that contribute to your studies or future.
- Get UCAS or tariff points for university or a higher/degree apprenticeship if that’s what you’re aiming for. How many points you get depends on your grades. Not all universities work with UCAS points and some want grades. Have a look at the UCAS website for more information or come and talk to me if you’re stuck.
- Need to start preparing for your university application early if you are going to go to university after Sixth Form, or if you’re not sure. You need to start planning and preparing for writing your personal statement, which is part of your UCAS application. You need to think about what activities you can put in place for your statement and you need to make these happen. Don’t worry if you don’t know what course you would like to do at university at this point. Preparing for your statement helps you find out and make up your mind.
Make sure you choose courses you like and are good at. Also make sure they lead to the options and ideas you may have for after Sixth Form. Have a look at the choice pages where you can find more ideas and tools to help you make a good choice.
There are usually two kinds of courses you can choose from:
A levels are:
- Not just an extension to GCSEs, they are a (big) step up and you need to be very interested in the subject to do well. For maths especially, you need to ‘be there’ from the start.
- Two year courses with an exam at the end.
- Mainly academic, as mentioned. However, some of them do include more practical components. Examples are music, drama, art, photography,… You get the picture I’m sure.
- You’ll be taking fewer subjects but at greater depth, so expect to spend more time on each subject than you would for a GCSE.
- In general more ‘practical’ courses, but don’t be fooled. Most of them have a considerable academic component within them. If you want to do a BTEC, especially if you want to use this for your university application, you need to know what the BTEC stands for and what it’s worth compared to A levels. School Sixth Form can tell you. A BTEC can be the equivalent of:
- 1 A Level
- 2 A Levels for the BTEC Diploma
- 3 A levels if it’s the full extended BTEC
Make sure you plan this in as you need 3 A levels or equivalent (BTEC is equivalent for this purpose) to open up doors at university. If you do take ‘only’ two A Levels or equivalent, then you may be able to get into a Foundation Degree, HNC or HND course.
- They are only available in more applied subjects such as sport, business, etc… However, if this really appeals to you and you would like to do this full time, instead of alongside A Levels, then have a look at what the local colleges offer. They have BTECs in far more subjects at level 3, which is what you need for higher education. Have a look at the college pages as well in that case.
- They too will give you UCAS points, if important.
A bit about enrichment
Enrichment courses are exactly that, for your enrichment. Depending on where you want to apply, there are usually a variety of subjects available. You often get UCAS points for these as well, but check with the school before you commit if it’s important to you they do. At some schools and for some subjects, you can continue them to the second year and get a diploma in the subject, instead of a certificate.
Normally the subjects will explain what they are about. A key exception is EPQ or Extended Project Qualification. Instead of regurgitating the information on the UCAS website (https://www.ucas.com/connect/blogs/what-epq-and-why-should-i-do-one-epq-advice-1) , please have a look. Also talk to the Sixth Form you’re applying to if you would like to take this qualification. They need to know about your plans and the kind of project you want to do. You can’t just do anything. It needs to have the required ‘weight’, but other than that, you can be very creative! Apart from UCAS points, it also contributes a lot to your personal statement for university.
Should you continue with Sixth Form after year 11?
This is a very personal decision only you can make, because you will actually be doing the work! However, there is lots of support out there, including me. So don’t be afraid to come and have a chat or ask me and the many other people in school any question you like!
Also check out other sections on this and other websites. Specifically useful may be: https://marcr.net/school/what-next/options-at-16/
Applying to Sixth Form
Making a choice:
- If you are going to take A levels, you need to choose 4 subjects, one for enrichment and 3 for full A level. Ideally have a spare one in mind as well.
- If BTEC courses are an option and you are interested in those in combination with A levels, you still need to make sure you have the equivalent of at least 3 A levels. If you’re not sure what the BTEC courses are equivalent to, please don’t make assumptions but talk to the head of sixth form.
Your actual application:
- If you stay in your school, they will guide you through the application.
- If you want to go to another school you need to contact them early to make sure your application is in on time. Every school has a different deadline but ask for an application form in November, the start of December at the very latest. Check the school website – 6th form page to find out more.
- If you want to take A levels at college you ideally need to apply around Christmas in your last year at school, or shortly after. There is no fixed deadline as such, but don’t wait too long as courses fill up.
- You apply online in most cases by going to the course webpage and by clicking on ‘Apply’.
- You will normally get confirmation from the college that they have received your application.
- Later on they invite you for an interview. This is your chance to ask the college questions and for them to find out whether the course you have applied for will suit you. They could offer alternatives if they feel there is something that fits in better but it’s your choice to take these.
- After the interview they will either:
- Offer you an unconditional place
- Refuse you a place (rare but make sure your school record is as good as it can be) or
- Offer you a conditional place; you can join the course if you get certain grades (likely)
- If you get more than one offer, you need to confirm which one you are going to enrol on when you get your results in August. The college will fit you into the correct level if possible if you don’t get the correct grades.
Make sure you have a strong backup in case you don’t get the correct grades. This could be a college course or A levels elsewhere, but be careful. If the required grades for your backup are the same then it’s not a real backup!
Where are the local Sixth Forms?
Sixth form/A levels: most local alphabetically
For many people going to, or continuing, at your school’s Sixth Form is the best and most straightforward option with obvious advantages: you know the teachers, you know the school, you can talk to them while you are in year 11 to make sure you make the best choice, you don’t need to settle into a new environment so you can take a flying start, and so on…
The local Sixth Forms are:
- Beaminster School – combined Sixth Form with Colfox Academy: http://www.beaminster.dorset.sch.uk/
- The Sir John Colfox Academy – Combined Sixth Form with Beaminster: https://www.colfox.org/
- Woodroffe School: https://www.woodroffe.dorset.sch.uk/
Sixth form/A levels: other opportunities alphabetically
If you want to go elsewhere for whatver reason, then these are the main local options. Make sure you make the right decision and think about transport and travel time. You’ll probably need to travel there most of the week. Also, make sure you find out the facts. What is a good option for one person doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good option for you!
- Bridgwater and Taunton College: https://www.btc.ac.uk/
- Budmouth Academy: https://www.budmouth-aspirations.org/
- Colyton Grammar School: https://www.colytongrammar.com/
- Exeter College: https://exe-coll.ac.uk/
- Exeter Maths School: http://www.exetermathematicsschool.ac.uk/
- Honiton College: https://www.honitoncollege.com/sixthform
- Richard Huish College, Taunton: https://www.huish.ac.uk/
- Sidmouth College: https://www.sidmouthcollege.devon.sch.uk/
- The King’s School: https://www.thekings.devon.sch.uk/
- Thomas Hardye School: http://thomas-hardye.dorset.sch.uk/
- Weymouth College: https://www.weymouth.ac.uk/
- Yeovil College: https://www.yeovil.ac.uk/
I have included quite a few links to higher education sites because for quite a few people they will be looking at their step after Sixth Form and what it needs to lead on to. I hope it’s useful.
You can try out what your courses in Sixth Form can lead on to as well on
- https://www.ucas.com/ucas/after-gcses/find-career-ideas/explore-jobs#js=on and there is also a short quiz you can do on https://www.ucas.com/careers-advice to come up with some starter ideas to explore.
- … and please don’t forget https://www.ucas.com/explore/subjects
More general links, where you can explore career ideas at all levels, instead of what you could do with our Sixth Form subjects, could be:
Not sure about Higher education and what it has to offer?
Open days, which could be useful later on for Tom:
For career information related to higher education and lots, lots more!
What if you want to know about universities from a student’s point of view?
Have a look on these websites for university rankings.
Worried about paying for higher education? Have a look on the following site to find out the latest:
Don’t forget to have a look at bursaries and scholarships linked to individual courses on the UCAS website!