Life in the Sixth Form
What to study
Choosing your programme of study
We understand that the decision about which subjects to study may well be a difficult one for you. We have an exciting range of courses on offer at Beacon at Level 3, so making your choices does mean that you will need to give it careful thought.
One of the most important things to remember is that you are putting together a combination of courses for your Year 12, which will help you to achieve your goals and not just a collection of subjects. You will need to :
- Read the details about the subject specifications very carefully.
- Talk to your subject teacher/s about the subject at Sixth Form Level. Do not assume you know about a subject just because you have done it at GCSE.
- Look at the content and pattern of assessment. You may well be studying the subject for two years and possibly even longer.
- Talk to your Year 11 tutor about your choices.
- Be aware of your predicted grades at GCSE and read the Entry Requirements for each subject carefully.
- Talk to the Careers Teacher/Adviser, particularly if you have a specific career in mind. Some careers specifically request certain subject combinations and it is important that you know this before you embark on your course of study.
- Read University Prospectuses looking at degree courses which may already interest you. Think ahead as some degree courses favour certain subject combinations. Sixth Form Staff will also advise you about University requirements. The UCAS website is a useful starting point for any research. Feel free to visit the Sixth Form Centre to use our library.
- Talk to your parents about your intended choices. They want you to be successful in your Sixth Form choices so involve them in your decision-making.
- In listening to the advice given, you must remember that it is you who will be following the courses. The key to success – is that you must want to do the subjects you finally choose to do.
Students following a level 3 course normally select the equivalent of three subjects. This can be made up of three A Level subjects or a double vocational award and a further A Level. On top of this students may also select a sport. In some cases if you are doing particularly well at GCSE we may advise you to study four subjects. We can help you make this decision at your interview. We have a number of Cambridge Technical, and Btecs which have a majority of coursework along with some exams. Some of these are double awards, which means that they are the equivalent of two A levels and allow you to specialise in an area of interest e.g Sport/Digital Media/Health.
GCSE retakes in English and Maths are also available for those students who still need to achieve the valuable grade 4.
How to choose your subjects
Think of your likely results in the summer and you will be able to see the types of courses you ought to be considering, in recognition of the needs of individual students the Assistant Headteacher of the Academy reserves the right to vary the programme of study as appropriate. As you consider your Sixth Form options you need to ask yourself the following question: What level of qualification am I aiming for?
What are the entry requirements for the Level of course I wish to study?
Apart from the guidance given about levels and entry requirements you will also need to check the entry requirements for each of your chosen subjects. These entry requirements vary from subject to subject and are based on the experience of the Department in preparing students to successfully complete a course at Advanced or Intermediate level. It is not in your interest to embark on a course of study in the Sixth Form without the necessary qualifications to build on.
Please note: We are currently updating our Course Information and Entry Requirements Booklet for 2019. This information will be made available at the earliest opportunity.
What is required for success at Sixth Form
We know that the key to success at Sixth Form is centred on consistent, challenging hard work. As you may know from talking to older students, to succeed as a Sixth Form student you will need to work substantially harder than you did at GCSE. Your ultimate success will require commitment and resilience. Importantly, you will be expected to show far greater initiative in directing your own studies outside of the classroom. However, you should not be disheartened by this challenge, every year we see that the students that commit resolutely to their studies are typically very successful.
Developing independence as a learner now will equip you with the skills you need to be successful at university and at work. The reality of the world beyond school is that you are expected to work incredibly hard without supervision, however with support from our experienced Sixth Form team your goals and ambitions are within reach.
We encourage all of our Sixth Form students to:
- Read around and ahead in their subjects
- Seek advice from teachers and Year 13 students about books and online resources that are especially valuable
- Do their revision week by week (creating the revision notes and questions for each topic as they go through the course)
- Independently rewrite essays and assessments to improve them following feedback
- Support their peers and work collaboratively
- Use their tutor time and independent time wisely to plan their learning and think ahead
- Organise their time carefully so that deadlines are met
- Attend lessons and revision sessions with questions and ideas ready to discuss having read ahead in advance
- Develop and strengthen resilience in their approach to study and understand that support is readily available
How we help each other
We are a supportive Sixth Form and we all commit to working hard to benefit each other. Your class teachers, the Sixth Form team and your tutor will all work together to help you manage your studies.
All students are assigned to tutor groups, and a tutor programme is in place. You will work closely with your tutor during tutor time to plan your learning for the weeks and months ahead. You are also strongly encouraged to work cooperatively with other students utilising the non-silent student places within the Academy.
What are study periods and how are they used?
Due to the emphasis on independent study, all students in both years are given the option of doing only three subjects and having two fifths of the timetable available for extra study. Work will be set to deadlines, but to succeed this will need to be supported by substantial independent work around your subjects. You use your directed study periods and your own time to do this. Your tutor will help guide you through this process so that you use your time constructively. During free periods, students are expected to utilise the available study areas and resources to support their learning.
Each week, Sixth Form students have two timetabled lessons in the Study Hall where they are registered and are expected to work independently.
At other times when you are not in timetabled lessons, you need to stay on site.There are plenty of spaces available for quiet study. Students may leave the site at lunch time.
If you want to succeed in Sixth Form nothing is more important than good attendance. Attendance is monitored during lessons and in every part of your learning this includes tutorial sessions, assemblies, enrichment and other activities.
It is your responsibility as students to attend every session.
By the start of the first session that you are going to miss, your parents need to email the absence address email@example.com or contact the Sixth Form office directly on 01892 603066.
You should only plan absences from the Academy if there is no alternative arrangement available and the reason is valid/acceptable. In these circumstances, you will need to provide details to Reception as soon as possible as well as providing supporting evidence before the event where possible.
Examples of these include:
- Hospital and Orthodontist appointments that cannot be arranged outside college hours, backed by evidence of an appointment card or a signed complementary slip from the receptionist
- Religious holidays
- A university visit – either for an interview or an open day (for an interview the university letter is required)
- A job interview (appointment letter must be provided).
- A work experience placement which is an integral part of a course for which a student does not receive a wage
- Practical driving test
The following are some examples of things that you should not be organising during college time:
- Driving lesson and theory test
- Birthday celebrations
- Babysitting siblings
- Employment or employment training
- Leisure activities
Unauthorised absences will be reported home and attendance will be monitored. Where there are attendance issues we want to work with you and your family to ensure that you are supported to achieve the best possible outcome.
The Sixth Form School Day
It is our expectation that you will attend the Sixth Form all day every day - from tutorial at 8.30am to the end of lessons at 3.10pm (or 4.10pm if you have a twilight). You are expected to do at least five hours of private study per week for each of your subjects. If you are progressing well on your courses and do not have lessons in period five, you may be permitted to go off site for this period, however this is at the discretion of your Head of Year and Head of Sixth Form.
If you need to go home partway through the day due to illness, you must see a member of the Sixth Form Team and sign out at Reception before leaving. We will inform your parents that you have left the Academy.
We have updated our Sixth Form dress code to reflect the professional environment of the Sixth Form and students are expected to dress accordingly and appropriately.
Students who come to school inappropriately dressed may receive a misdemeanour point and if they receive two of these in a week, they will receive a detention.
Smoking is not permitted at all on site or on the path between sites regardless of age. This is a legal requirement. The Academy has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy learning environment.
All of the above rules also apply equally to E-Cigarettes.
Paid work, work experience and driving lessons
It is recommended that employment outside of the Sixth Form is limited to 12 hours per week.
Students are not permitted to have driving lessons during the academy working day. However, an exception is made for practical driving tests. Evidence may be required to demonstrate this.
As part of our voluntary work experience programme, we offer Year 12 students three optional weeks of work experience within local businesses. Weekly placements can also be organised if the students have a suitable gap in their timetable.
How we support you
Health & Wellbeing
A confidential counselling service is available for students in the Sixth Form with our wellbeing practitioner who is based in the Sixth Form centre two days per week.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
The Academy and staff have a general duty to ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable students under 18 years of age who are suffering, or who are likely to suffer, significant harm. This duty also extends to vulnerable students over 18 years old. Staff have received training in recognising students who may be at risk and need support and the Academy works closely with other external agencies to support students who may experience difficulties. The Designated Child Protection Officer in Sixth Form is Mr Baker who is the Assistant Headteacher (Post 16) and Dr Grossman who is Head of Year 12. Any enquiries regarding matters of child protection and safeguarding should be referred to them.
Gambia - an Educational Experience
Every year, Sixth Form students have the opportunity to take part in a visit to distribute aid and support community projects in the Gambia. The visit allows the participating Sixth Form students to witness first-hand the problems that a Third World country faces from an economic, educational and environmental viewpoint.
To find out more, please visit our Gambia web page.